Chilly mornings and snowy days may be a few months off now, but if you wait until the last minute to prepare for winter, you’re only setting yourself up for an unpleasant (and potentially unsafe) experience. Chances are, if you’re already in the midst of cold weather, you’re already prepared since you know how quickly things can change. But if the peaceful days of fall have lulled you into complacency, there’s still time to get ready.
Hence, here are some handy tips that will go a long way for you.
Is your car up to the task of driving in winter weather?
The first snow of the season can be a tough test for your car. Snow, ice and cold temperatures make driving more difficult than usual.
It’s not just about putting on tires with good traction and keeping a full tank of gas in the tank. Here’s a checklist of things to consider before heading out this season.
- Is your car up to the task of driving in winter weather? If it hasn’t been driven much in the past year, get it checked out by a mechanic.
- Do you know how to drive in bad weather? If not, take a driver training course or read up on how to handle different types of winter driving conditions.
- Have you checked your tires? You don’t want them too worn or too new — and make sure they match the ones on the other side of your vehicle.
- Are you prepared for emergencies? Make sure that you have a way to call for help and enough supplies (food, water, and blankets) if you have, to stay overnight in your vehicle.
What about your boots, coats, and hats?
- Boots: The best way to know if your boots are ready for winter is to go outside and walk in them. If they’re uncomfortable or make your feet hurt, they probably need some breaking in. But if you’re going to be walking around a lot during the winter months and your feet aren’t used to it yet, it might be best to invest in some new ones that fit better and feel more comfortable.
- Coats: You can tell if your coat is prepared for the season by looking at its weight (or thickness). If it’s still quite lightweight and thin, it won’t offer much protection from cold weather and wind.
- Hats: Hats should be tested out before winter arrives by wearing them around town or even just around your house for a few hours at a time over the next few weeks. They should fit snugly but not tightly so that they don’t blow off when there’s a gust of wind or when you run into someone while walking down the street!
Is your apartment fully winterized?
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to winterize your apartment. While we can give you so many tips to winterize your apartment, you can perhaps start by making sure all windows and doors are sealed properly so that drafts don’t come through and rob you of heat during cold nights. You also want to make sure that any cracks or openings in walls are properly caulked or patched up with putty.
Once that’s done, make sure you have enough blankets and warm clothing on hand so that you can bundle up when necessary — especially if there’s snow on the ground outside!
Do you have any prescription medications that need filling before you’re snowed in?
Make sure your prescriptions are up-to-date so that none of those pesky side effects take hold when you really need them most. And don’t forget about over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen!
Make sure all of your routine appointments are made before the worst of it arrives
Make sure all of your routine appointments are made before the worst of it arrives. If you haven’t already scheduled an annual physical, dental checkup, or an eye exam, now is a good time to do so – especially if there are any issues that need attention or treatment. You also may want to consider having your car serviced before winter hits so that it’s ready when you need it most.
Do you have flashlights and batteries in handy places?
Flashlights should be a part of every household’s emergency supplies. That includes both battery-powered flashlights and flashlights that use hand-crank power. You can also purchase solar-powered lights that don’t require any batteries at all.
But it’s not just about having a flashlight in your hand when the lights go out — it’s also about having extra batteries and bulbs on hand, so you can replace them when they no longer work. If you have to replace the batteries, try to keep several sets of spare AA or AAA batteries on hand so you can swap them out as you need to.
How about fireplaces and chimneys?
If you have a fireplace or wood stove, the flue should be inspected and cleaned annually — especially if you haven’t used it during the summer months. Chimneys should also be checked for creosote buildup every year. Creosote can catch fire and ignite your roof or attic, so it’s important to check for this buildup regularly.
When the cold weather hits, staying protected from the elements is top priority. If you’re like most, simply grabbing a scarf and hat works most of the time. Still, there’s no harm in preparing for extreme cold if it allows you to get even more enjoyment for your next outdoor adventure.