Take extra precautions during snow and cold

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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Much of the nation is either under a winter weather storm advisory or warning. In Carter County, we are under a weather storm warning until today due to a mixture of Arctic cold and wind, along with snow. Locally, the forecast called for four to six inches of snow before the snow stopped. But brace yourself – the cold temperatures are expected to last much of the week, and another winter storm is forecast for the week’s end.

Two wintertime activities during which people need to use caution include driving a car on snow and ice and shoveling snow. This winter storm reminds us of the need for preparation.

Two wintertime activities during which people need to use caution include driving a car on snow and ice and shoveling snow. If you really weren’t prepared for either of these activities, don’t despair. We have some tips on how you can feel confident about getting behind the wheel of your car and digging out your driveway when the next big snowstorm hits.

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To drive safely in the winter, you first need to ensure that your vehicle is prepared to keep running through snow, ice, slush, and frigid temperatures that can create difficult and sometimes perilous driving conditions. Some of the components on your vehicle that should be checked for winter readiness are:

  • Tires: In areas with severe winter weather, AAA recommends installing snow tires on all four wheels to provide the best traction.
  • Battery: One of the most common roadside assistance calls that AAA receives during the winter months is for dead batteries. Make sure your vehicle’s battery will be able to keep going when temperatures plummet.
  • Coolant: Check the coolant level on the overflow tank when the engine is cold, AAA recommends. “If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability,” the organization stated in its Winter Car Care Checklist.
  • Wiper blades and fluid: Motorists should consider installing winter wiper blades in place of traditional summertime wipers. Winter wiper blades wrap the blade frame in a rubber boot to reduce ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the blade and the glass, AAA explained. Also, regularly monitor and refill windshield washer fluid. When buying windshield washer fluid, make sure it’s intended for winter use by checking information on the jug’s label.

Even if your car is in tip-top shape for winter, you still need to use safe driving techniques when heading out onto snowy or icy roads. Put these winter driving tips to good use:

  • After starting your car, be sure to clear all snow and ice off your front and rear windshields, side-view mirrors, headlights, and brake lights, as well as the roof of your car.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  • Driving at slower speeds than on dry surfaces is the key to maintaining control on snowy or icy roads. Remember also that posted speed limits might not be good guidelines to follow when snow or ice has covered a roadway.
  • If your car begins to slide on snow and ice, keep your foot off the brake and steer in the direction of the skid so your vehicle regains traction.

When it comes to snow shoveling, remember some of these pointers, provided by the Tennessee Department of Health:

  • Older persons, or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful. If you have a history of heart trouble, check with your doctor before attempting to shovel snow.
  • As with any lifting activity, use your legs, not your back. Your legs should be bent with your back straight. Bend and “sit” into the movement, allowing your large muscle groups to do most of the work.
  • Snow shoveling is a weight-lifting exercise that raises your heart rate and blood pressure. Warm up before starting the job, and stretch both before and after shoveling.
  • Never work to the point of exhaustion. Take frequent breaks. If your chest feels tight, stop immediately.

In conclusion, we hope these pointers can help more people to stay safe while driving or shoveling snow this winter. Both activities can prove deadly, so we wanted to do our part to prevent possible casualties.