While you can’t change the weather, you can minimize some of winter’s biggest threats to your safety and security. At home, at work or on the road, be mindful and plan ahead for the curves that this season can throw. Staying alert and preparing properly for the season will help to ensure your holidays remain happy.
On the Road:
The winter holidays are some of the most heavily traveled in the United States. According to a recent AAA article, more than 39 million people hit the roads during this recent Thanksgiving weekend, with another 3 million choosing to fly to their destinations. While basic guidelines for safe driving to avoid auto accidents are applicable year-round, it’s important to also be aware of the following for safety while driving during the winter.
- Make sure your car is properly cared for and equipped. Antifreeze and wiper fluids should be full; the battery tested and tires in good condition.
- Always carry a winter car survival kit filled with items such as a blanket, flashlight, ice scraper, car hammer (that can both cut a seatbelt and break a window), windup radio, flares, toilet paper and nonperishable food such as trail mix, energy bars and water.
- When driving in freezing rain or snow, do not tailgate. Wet or frozen roads can cause skidding, sliding and an increased potential for rear-end collisions and pileups.
- If you are stranded in your car and keep the engine on in order to run your heater, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If the weather is bad, make good decisions about when it’s not safe to drive. Staying home may be the best option and in everyone’s best interests.
At Home or Work:
Heavy snow accumulation and freezing temperatures can also pose threats to your home or place of business. From frozen pipes to storm damage, follow these tips for a safe, secure winter season.
- If you own a vacation home where winter weather can be severe, knowing how to winterize it will prevent damage that can occur from frozen pipes. Turning off the main water supply, draining and treating the pipes and emptying the water heater when the house is not in use are simple steps that can save a lot of time, money and inconvenience down the road.
- According to the National Weather Service, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is at its greatest during winter months. Any appliances in your home or place of work that burn fuel, such as gas kitchen ranges and kerosene space heaters, may emit carbon monoxide if they are not properly ventilated. Be sure to have up-to-date functioning carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home or place of work. Deaths resulting from a building’s defective design, improperly maintained or ventilated heaters or defective carbon monoxide detector are not uncommon. If a friend, relative or loved one has lost his or her life to carbon monoxide poisoning in California or elsewhere in the U.S., contact us immediately for a free consultation.
- According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an average of $2,091,000,000 in property loss occurs from winter fires and 67 percent of winter fires occur in one- and two-family homes. To prevent winter fires from occurring in your home, be sure to never leave burning candles or a lit fireplace unattended, always unplug holiday lights when away from the home and be extra attentive when cooking in a kitchen crowded with festive visitors and children.