9 Important Safety Tips To Know This Winter

If you're aiming to be smart and proactive about dealing with one of the worst parts of the year, you'll arm yourself with some winter safety tips in order to cope with all of the hazards and nasty surprises winter manages to throw your way. The holidays are great for many different reasons — but, perhaps the best part about them is that they manage to divert your attention away from the fact that it's actually winter now. But, once the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over, you realize you're left to face months on end of this tortuously gray and bleak season. Now, as the weather gets ever colder, it's the perfect time for a refresher on winter safety.

Of course, if you're lucky enough to live in a somewhat mild climate, then winter probably isn't too brutal. But, if you're one of those unfortunate souls who needs to survive the winter months when the weather can only be described as harsh and cruel, it's a bit of a different story. From slippery roads and cars that won't start to ice storms and being snowed in for days, winter is full of tons of different and not-so-pleasant surprises that can cross your path without warning.

And, while you can't control the weather, there are a few things you can do in order to be well prepared for the winter. These nine winter safety tips are sure to have you prepped and ready for the most brutal time of the year. Or, you can just hide out in your house with blankets and a stockpile of wine — because that's what I'm planning on doing.

1. Pack an emergency kit

Winter roads can be treacherous, and you can never be too sure what you're going to encounter. Make sure you're prepared for the worst by keeping an emergency kit in your trunk. What sorts of things should you keep in your kit? A blanket, reflectors, a first aid kit, some water, and a flashlight are a few of the key items you'll want to have on hand.

2. Stay updated

Before jumping in your car to leave the house, take a few minutes to check the weather so that you know what you're in for. Most states also offer a map that details winter road conditions. Knowing this information will not only help you prepare, but also determine if you need to plan an alternative route.

3. Keep a phone charger with you

When the weather is so unpredictable, you never know where you might be stuck. And, you definitely don't want to end up trapped anywhere without any means of communication. So, make sure that you're always armed with a phone charger. Keep a car charger in your glove compartment in case of emergency, and purchase a portable charger to keep with you in your bag. That way, you'll never be stuck without the ability to get in touch.

4. Bring pets inside

Of course, you're concerned with your own safety in the winter. But, you don't want to forget about your four-legged friends. It should seem obvious that you need to bring your pets indoors when the weather is frigid, but there are many people who still neglect to do so. If the temperature is cold to you, remember that it's just as cold for your pets. So, bring them inside.

5. Prevent pipes from freezing

Nobody wants frozen pipes in the winter. One way to prevent them? Keep the cabinets under your bathroom and kitchen sinks open to let the warmer weather circulate in that space. Just remember to move any toxic cleaning supplies out of the reach of children.

6. Dress in layers

The winter forces you to deal with tons of different temperatures on a daily basis — the weather outside is freezing cold, but your office is scorching hot. While you may be tempted to put on all of your warmest, bulkiest clothing in order to survive the walk into work, you're actually better off dressing in thin, yet warm, layers. It gives you more options to adjust to the current temperature.

7. Keep kitty litter in your car

This one may have made you stop and think, "Wait, what?" The idea of purchasing kitty litter probably seems extra ridiculous if you don't even have a cat. But, keeping a bag of cat litter in your trunk will actually come in handy if your car gets stuck in the snow or a slick spot. Pour some on the ground right by your tires, and it'll help to give you a little extra traction.

8. Don't leave shopping until the last minute

We're all familiar with this scenario: it's a straight up vicious blizzard outside, and you realize you're out of laundry detergent, you forgot your prescription, or you're missing something else you desperately need immediately. So, you have no choice but to trudge out into the elements and head to the store. But, this nightmare is totally avoidable. Staying organized and on top of your needs and shopping lists will help you ensure you always have what you require on hand — without having to run out in bad weather at the last minute. Sure, it takes a little bit of extra time and attention. But, it's worth it.

9. Be flexible

When the winter weather can be so nasty and unpredictable, it's ultimately important to be flexible with your plans. While moving things around or making alternative arrangements might seem like a total pain, remember that it's still way better than dealing with a frighteningly slippery trip — or worse.

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