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7 tips for staying safe during extreme cold weather

1. Only travel if you have to

During extreme cold, it’s best to just stay home, if possible. Traveling in that kind of weather increases your risk of encountering slippery road conditions and possibly ending up with frostbite. If you must get on the roads, make sure you take extra care while driving, keep your gas tank full and carry an emergency kit that includes things like a flashlight, extra blankets, warm clothes, food and water in case you find yourself stranded.

If you’re utilizing public transportation and have to wait outside for your ride, it’s best to keep moving in order to stay warm while you wait. (Credit: Artic_photo/Shutterstock.com)

2. Dress warmly

Dressing in loose-fitting layers when you leave the house is key when it comes to keeping you toasty. The air between the layers, combined with wintery materials like wool, helps trap body heat. Synthetic wicking fabrics can also help you stay dry and warm. (Credit: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe Stock)

3. Protect your extremities

Your extremities, including finger, toes, earlobes and the tip of your nose, are the most vulnerable to frostbite if they aren’t properly protected. If you go outside, make sure these areas are covered. When it comes to your hands, opt for mittens instead of gloves to better warm your fingers. (Credit: Sergey Borisov_88/Shutterstock.com)

4. Don’t push yourself too hard

If there’s physical labor to be done outside that isn’t immediately necessary (shoveling the driveway, for instance), consider waiting until temperatures have risen beyond dangerous levels. Vigorous exercise in the snow can make things harder on your heart, especially for people who struggle with high blood pressure or heart disease. (Credit: Anna_Kuzmina/Shutterstock.com)

5. Take it easy on ice

Below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, rock salt is loses its effectiveness and can leave you with slippery, dangerous sidewalks and driveways. Use ice melt on these surfaces, and spread gritty materials like sand to increase traction. While walking, take short, slow, shuffling steps to avoid a spill, and consider purchasing winter traction devices for your shoes. (Credit: Astrid Gast/Shutterstock.com)

6. Know the signs of frozen pipes (and how to stop them)

Water pipes are susceptible to freezing and bursting in cold weather, which can result in pricey water damage to your home. To protect your pipes, let cold water drip from your faucets and open the cabinets under your sinks to allow them more exposure to the home’s heating. You can also wrap your pipes in insulation for extra protection. (Credit: Tina Jeans/Shutterstock.com)

7. Watch over babies, pets and the elderly

Babies and the elderly have a harder time regulating their body temperature than younger adults, so extreme cold poses and even higher danger for them. Make sure they remain properly bundled up and out of the extreme temps, if possible. Check in with your older neighbors and relatives to ensure they have what they need to stay warm. Pets should also always be provided proper, warm shelter and not be left outside to fend for themselves in the cold. (Credit: Ollyy/Shutterstock.com)

An arctic air mass is expected to sweep across the Plains, Midwest and Ohio Valley on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2023, bringing with it “brutal” temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.

Afternoon highs are unlikely to reach zero across much of Montana and parts of North Dakota on Jan. 12, while the Central Plains and portions of Iowa and Minnesota will see temperatures ranging from zero to the low teens.

The Weather Service expects the arctic air mass and the extreme cold to extend “well beyond” the weekend.

Staying warm when the temperatures start to drop isn’t just about comfort; it’s about safety. While keeping your auto and home insurance coverage updated is an essential part of protecting yourself from extreme weather, this slideshow contains seven more tips, courtesy of Erie Insurance, to ensure you stay protected when things get frigid.


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