When the first major snow fall occurs in Michigan, people are reminded of the dangers winter weather can bring. With unexpected snow storms, rain, sleet, freezing roads, power outages, and more there is plenty Michiganders have to consider before stepping outside during the cold months. To prepare you for the inevitable, here are a few reminders to consider this winter.

When you’re out on the road

Snowy and icy road conditions can lead to mishap in an instant. Before you get behind the wheel this winter remember:

  • To make sure your tires are properly inflated
  • Your gas tank is at least half-full to avoid a freeze-up
  • You check the weather report before you leave

If you are traveling during wet conditions: accelerate and decelerate slowly to gain traction and drive cautiously but don’t slow down on snowy hills. Remember, if you don’t really have to go out, don’t! Curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book instead.

When you’re riding out the storm indoors

While some severe winter storm predictions can get over-the-top, it doesn’t hurt to have precautions in place. To prepare for the unexpected it’s important to have an emergency preparedness kit on hand stocked with essentials including:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Radio
  • First aid kit
  • Garbage bags
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Necessary medications
  • Cell phone with battery backup

It helps to also create a household evacuation plan and discuss scenarios with your loved ones.

When you’re clearing a path for Santa Claus

Another winter fact of life? You’ve got to keep those walks and driveways clear. If you have to shovel this year, here are some tips to remember from the National Safety Council:

  • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking
  • Take it slow
  • Shovel only fresh, powdery snow
  • Push the snow rather than lifting
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion

Working outside in cold conditions can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to more serious health risks if the above recommendations are not practiced.

When you’re winterizing your home

The winter is not always kind to people just like it’s not always kind to homes. To get ready for those chilling temps, keep an eye on your pipes and drains inside and outside of the home. Take the necessary precautions like pipe-wrapping and if you have a sprinkler system in your yard, make sure it’s clear of water before cold weather sets in. Don’t forget to examine doors and windows for gaps where warm air can escape. Check out this list of heating tips to keep you toasty all winter long.

While the winter can be an unforgiving time, it can also be very beautiful and magical. Be able to truly appreciate all the season has to offer by following these tips to staying safe. For more winter preparedness tips, check out Empowering Michigan.