January 05, 2012

While we’ve been having a very mild winter this year, we know our Missouri weather well enough to know that it can change at any moment. In the event that things do get more like a typical winter, it’s good to keep several safety tips in mind. These tips will also provide helpful insight for winters to come.

Winterize your car and have an emergency kit: You might think you’re a great driver in the winter months, but it’s not guaranteed that the person behind you is. When driving in icy and snowy conditions, go slow, exercise caution and keep your visibility clear. Keep an eye on your tire pressure, and make sure that your spare tire is filled as well, just in case. Check those fluids, and if you need snow tires or sandbags, take care of it ahead of time!

It’s also important to have an emergency kit in your car at all times, not just in the winter. This should include blankets, a flashlight, batteries, water, a few small snacks, a first-aid kit, a small amount of money, jumper cables and a tire gauge. For the winter months, it’s also good to have an extra jacket, gloves and a hat in case you would not have those items and need to be out of your car for an extended period of time. It gets cold quickly without the heater running! For more recommendations on what to keep in your emergency kit, check out this list.

Keep extra bulk supplies at home: Remember last year’s snowstorm? The grocery stores were flooded with people stocking up on emergency supplies. Since we know this can easily happen again, keep emergency supplies on hand throughout the winter, such as bottled water and nonperishable food items. Since these nonperishable items can keep, you can always consume them at any point during the year, which helps keep costs down for other grocery shopping. Keeping these supplies stocked in your pantries is also important in the event of an unexpected overnight snow.

Have backup ways to stay warm: Load up on blankets and sweats in the event of power outages. Also, using these tools can help keep your heating costs down during the wintertime. It’s important to remember not to use your oven as a secondary source for heating your home. When in doubt, just grab another layer! If you have a fireplace in your home, make sure that you have enough wood chopped to keep the fire going.

Know your limits and use common sense: This is probably the most important thing to remember about the winter. If the roads look hazardous, try to stay off them. If that snow is too heavy to shovel, don’t overexert yourself. Too frequently, people lose their sense of judgment as soon as snow starts to accumulate. Don’t let that happen to you!

What are your best tips for winter safety?