Coping with snowy, cold weather

Published 2:25 pm Friday, January 7, 2022

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It is January. January is a winter month. During winter months, it sometimes snows. Now and then the snow falls right across the country. More often, it is localized.
With any snowfall, big or small, rhythms of everyday life change. But not by much. And mostly not for long. Some people hate snow. Others love it. Occasionally the effects of snow are grim. Mostly, with a bit of thought and forbearance, they are not. For the most part, we just cope.
It’s always nice to watch the outside turn into a winter wonderland, but it could make for some tricky travels through the end of the weekend, so travel carefully and get home safe.
And if your neighborhood winds up getting blanketed, hold on to that thankful mindset for the plow drivers who for the second time this week are out cleaning streets and roads of ice and snow. They deserve our gratitude for the long and hard hours they put in to make our streets safer and drivable. They work day and night scraping streets and roads and putting down salt to ensure safe traveling conditions.
The weather does change things, especially school and work schedules. Schools were dismissed early Thursday in Carter County and in most neighboring counties. Even state offices were closed from Memphis to Mountain City Thursday in preparation for the storm that was forecast to move quickly across the state.
It’s only natural that precautions be taken when winter weather moves in. Getting around in the snow can be tricky and dangerous as a bunch of drivers found out earlier this week when they were stuck on I-95 in Northern Virginia for over 20 hours. Some had no food or water during this time. Others ran out of gas as they kept their cars running to stay warm.
People need to exercise caution with ice and snow on the streets. It’s been awhile since we’ve had to commute in these conditions, so we all need to be careful on the road and ease into the new scenario.
Make sure your vehicle has been winterized and contains adequate provisions if emergencies occur. This is especially important for people who will be driving long distances.
Items to have in your car should include a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, blanket, booster cables, bottled water, nonperishable high-energy foods, fire extinguisher, first-aid kit and manual, maps, shovel, flares, tire repair kit and pump, spare tire, snowbrush and ice scraper, bag of sand, extra windshield fluid as well as winter boots and clothes for the trunk.
Also make sure to have your cellphone with you and that it is properly charged. If you’re stuck somewhere on a highway, it may take some time before someone can reach you if snow piles up. Don’t get caught in a jam without a phone that hasn’t a long enough charge for the potential wait.
Let family or friends know when you’ll be on the road. Make sure your car insurance is updated and that you have the proper documentation with you while driving. Signing up for roadside assistance with your insurance carrier or an automotive group would be helpful.
Just as important, we need to be prepared to help each other out this winter. Many people have limited resources to make it through the season, so it’s up to all of us to offer assistance. If you have elderly neighbors, check on them. Make sure they have heat and something to eat.
And, to everyone, stay safe and warm this winter!

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