Winter Weather Safety

Keep ahead of a winter storm by listening to the latest weather warnings and bulletins on NOAA Weather Radio, local radio and TV stations or cable TV such as The Weather Channel for updates. Be alert to changing weather conditions and avoid unnecessary travel.

Check battery powered equipment before the storm arrives. You may have to depend on a portable radio or TV for weather information. Also check emergency cooking facilities and flashlights.

Check your supply of heating fuel.

Check your food and stock for an extra supply of at least a couple of days. Your supplies should include food that requires no cooking or refrigeration in case of power failure.

Prevent fire hazards, including carbon monoxide poisoning due to overheated coal or oil burning stoves, fireplaces, heaters or furnaces.

Stay indoors during storms and cold snaps unless you are in peak physical condition. Avoid overexertion, especially when shoveling snow.

Make necessary trips for supplies before the storm develops or don't go at all. Arrange for emergency heat in case of power failure.

Dress to fit the season by wearing layered, loose-fitting clothing. Wear a hat, scarf and mittens.

Get your car winterized before the storm season begins. Maintain a checklist of the preparation required. Keep water out of your fuel by keeping your gas tank full.

Carry a winter storm car kit, especially if you plan cross country travel or if you anticipate travel in the northern states.

If the storm exceeds or even tests your limitations, seek available shelter immediately. Plan your travel and select primary and alternate routes.

Check the latest weather information before departing and drive carefully and defensively.

…Winter Weather Driving Safety...

No one should drive during severe winter weather. If a severe winter storm interrupts your travel plans, let the weather win for your safety. However, sometimes business obligations or holiday plans make winter travel necessary. When the plans cannot be changed or delayed, use good common sense to make your trip safe. Here are some points to consider when traveling during the winter months.

Be sure your car is in good condition and properly serviced. Snow tires or chains are a must for winter travel. Plan your trip carefully. Listen to weather forecasts and keep up-to-date on the latest winter weather advisories for your route of travel. Plan an alternate route should weather become a problem. Be sure to let someone know your planned and alternate routes. Travel by daylight using major highways where possible. Never travel alone. Keep your gas tank as nearly full as possible. You never know when traffic or the weather may slow you down or bring you to a stop. Even if you restrict your winter driving, certain supplies can help in an emergency. Keep basic items on hand and available, such as a windshield scraper, battery booster cables, a bag of sand or gravel and a flash light. For longer trips you might want to add a portable radio (and don't forget extra batteries), a first aid kit, road maps, some non-perishable food items such as nuts, dried fruit and/or candy and a blanket or quilt.

Drive carefully and defensively. Don't try to save time by traveling faster than road and weather conditions allow. If winter weather conditions begin to test your ability and endurance, don't hesitate to seek shelter.

If you should get caught on the road during a winter storm, keep calm. Here are a few tips to help with your safety.

Give some indication you are in trouble by turning on your car's flashers, raise the car hood or tie a cloth to an antenna or door handle. Stay in the car. Do not try to walk from the car unless you can see shelter within a reasonable distance.

For heat, turn on the car engine for brief periods. To avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, always leave a downwind window open slightly. Also, be sure the exhaust pipe of the vehicle is clear of debris such as snow when the engine is running.

Exercise from time to time by clapping your hands and moving your arms and legs. Do not stay in one position too long. Do not overexert yourself either by trying to shovel snow or by pushing the car. is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.