Time to get out the batteries, flash lights, battery operated radio/television, bottled water, toilet paper, nonperishable foods such as cereal or crackers, canned goods, a non electric can opener, a small cooler, candles, prescription medicines and any over-the-counter remedies you use regularly; and if you have young infants or toddlers – diapers, baby wipes, formula, baby food.
Get ready for the snow that may be headed our way.
How to Prepare Your Home for a Winter Storm
Bring any outdoor furniture inside (unless it is extremely durable). You can store it in your garage, basement or storage shed.
Remove any outdoor items that can be blown around by the wind and may possibly damage your house.
Consider whether any dead trees might be a hazard to your house if they were to fall. You may want to have them removed by a professional tree service.
Make sure that you have flashlights, with extra batteries, and candles to provide light during a power failure.
Keep some extra bottles of drinking water on hand. If you have a well with an electric pump (and will thus lose all water during a power failure), prepare some tubs of water for cleaning and toilet flushing. You may want to fill the bathtub when a storm is coming.
Have a battery-operated radio in the house.
Stock up on rock salt and sand for dealing with icy and slippery driveways and sidewalks.
Make sure that you have good snow shovels ready.
Arrange in advance for snow-plowing service – it is very difficult to book a snow-plowing service the day after a big snowstorm.
Keep a space heater and fuel in the garage if you live in a particularly cold area – especially if you have electrical heat in the house.
Keep food in the house that you can prepare without electricity. Note that your needs will vary depending on the type of appliances you have (gas or electric).
How To: Drive in the Snow
1. Be prepared:
Make sure your vehicle is properly equipped. That means snow tires or chains in extreme conditions.
2. Slow down:
Driving too fast is the No. 1 winter driving error. Choose the appropriate speed. Slippery roads make every mistake happen faster and more dramatically.
And don’t think antilock brakes, stability systems or other vehicle control mechanisms will help you if you’re sliding,
“If you’re going too fast, you’re going to go off the road and nothing’s going to change that.”
3. Look ahead:
Use your eyes more effectively. Be aware of road ice and other slippery conditions. Double the distance you normally allow between you and the car in front of you. An easy calculation for this distance is four car lengths for every 10 mph you are traveling. That means if you are doing 40 mph, you should leave 16 car lengths between you and the vehicle ahead.
Also, says Pearl, look ahead and get ready for corners and other obstacles before you arrive at them. “A good driver looks ahead and anticipates problems. An inattentive driver doesn’t watch the road and is forced to react to problems, usually abruptly.”
4. Brake before you enter a corner:
Smoothly apply your brakes before you reach a corner and then release the brakes and use all the grip of the car to corner. Then, once you are through the turn, accelerate out.
Entering a corner with too much speed and then trying to adjust in the corner will cause you to lose grip and you will likely lose control of your vehicle.
5. Practice the smooth and effective use of the vehicle’s controls:
The result of bad steering wheel control is that your vehicle will become imbalanced. Once that happens, you’ll probably skid. Therefore, it’s important to stay in control of your vehicle’s weight distribution.
6. Be informed:
Regardless of whether your vehicle is rear-wheel, front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the results of a loss of balance are the same.
What you need to understand is where the bulk of your vehicle’s weight resides and how your engine power can affect that weight.
In a pickup, all the weight is in the front with the engine and the cab, so, with little weight over them, the rear wheels have tenuous grip and the back end can easily slip out. Likewise, a rear-wheel-drive musclecar, such as a Ford Mustang GT, has a lopsided power-to-weight ratio, so its back end is also prone to losing grip on slippery roads.
A front-wheel-drive, front-engine sedan, such as a Honda Accord, also has a light rear, so that if you abruptly lift off the accelerator in a corner, all the weight shifts to the front and the rear has little grip. The result can be that the car will pull to the side in a corner and spin out.
7. Learn how to control a skid:
Go against your natural tendencies and turn into the skid. You also need to accelerate. Many oversteer skids can be controlled and a disaster averted simply by releasing the brake and gently accelerating. This transfers the weight from the front to the rear wheels, which allows you to steer into the direction of the skid, gain control of the vehicle and continue safely on your way.
If you drive a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, cautions Pearl, be careful not to over-accelerate or the tires may spin and you will oversteer and slide out of the turn.
In an understeer skid (when your car refuses to turn and is sliding), once again it’s important not to react instinctively by over-correcting the steering wheel, by braking or by doing both simultaneously. Understeering is usually caused by entering a corner too quickly and then turning.
In an understeer skid, carefully adjust your steering wheel until you regain some grip at the front wheels. Once grip is restored, gently and precisely add steering.
Of course, this requires room to maneuver, but if you adhere to point No. 3 above, you should have plenty of room.