SUNDAY, JANUARY 4, 2015
Preparing for a hard freeze is the best way to lower your risk. We are here to help you if you have a claim. Here are some things to do in advance to prepare.
- Wrap your outside pipes to avoid pipes bursting with foam or fiberglass insulation sleeves. In the unfortunate event that your pipes burst, turn off the main water supply. Call a professional plumber as soon as possible. Then call your insurance representative for help.
- Seal all openings where cold air can get at unprotected water pipes.
- Leave cabinet doors open under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow warmer room air to circulate around pipes.
- Insulate pipes that pass through unheated areas. Your home's crawlspace and attic are two such areas.
- Let faucets drip slowly to keep water flowing through pipes that are vulnerable to freezing.
- Remove outside garden hoses from the faucets and cover each outside faucet with insulation or foam.
- Sprinklers - Drain your sprinkler system of excess water particularly the backflow prevention device.
- For backyard pools, keep the motor running so the water can circulate. Otherwise stagnant water will freeze and cause damage to your pool equipment.
- If you plan to use your chimney this week, please be sure to have it inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep beforehand so you know it's safe to use. Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, or trash these spark a chimney fire.
- Clean or replace your furnace filter before the heating season begins.
- Be sure you have enough fire extinguishers around the home and you know how to use them.
- Never leave candles or fires unattended.
- If you ever have a fire, get everyone out of the house including yourself, call the fire department and alert anyone who might in danger like a neigbhor. If you can safely do so, turn off gas lines and move vehicles but never do this if you are putting yourself in harm's way.
- If you must drive, clear the ice and snow from your vehicle, all windows and windshield wipers. Be sure the windshield washer reservoir is adequately filled with a freeze-resistant cleaning solution.
Drive slowly. Even if your vehicle has good traction in ice and snow, other drivers will be traveling cautiously. Don't distrupt the flow of traffic by driving faster than everyone else.
In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, you can usually feel a loss of traction or the beginning of a skid. There may be no such warning in a front-wheel drive, however. Front-wheel drives do handle better in ice and snow, but they do not have flawless traction, and skids can occur unexpectedly. Don't let the better feel and handling of a front-wheel drive car cause you to drive faster than you should.
Despite a popular misconception, the best approach to recovering from a skid is the same for both front and rear-wheel drive vehicles. If your rear wheels start to skid:
If your front wheels skid:
- Turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they're sliding right, steer right.
- If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
- If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), keep your foot on the pedal. If not, pump the pedal gently, pumping more rapidly as your car slows down. Braking hard with non-anti-lock brakes will make the skid worse.
To avoid skids, brake carefully and gently on snow or ice. "Squeeze" your brakes in slow, steady strokes. Allow the wheels to keep rolling. If they start to lock up, ease off the brake pedal. As you slow down, you may also want to shift into a lower gear.
- Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
- As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.
When sleet, freezing rain or snow start to fall, remember that bridges, ramps, and overpasses are likely to freeze first. Also be aware that slippery spots may still remain after road crews have cleared the highways.
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