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7 Tips for Staying Safe During Extreme Cold Weather

Polar Vortex and Extreme Cold Safety Tips

  1. Only travel if you have to. In extreme cold, you shouldn’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary. Staying inside will reduce your chance of getting frostbite or risking uncertain road conditions. If you do need to leave the house, be sure to brush up on best practices for winter driving safety. If you drive, make sure you have a flashlight with fresh batteries and a full tank of gas. Carry extra blankets, clothes and a well-stocked car emergency kit with food and water in case you get stuck or stranded. Taking public transportation? Keep moving around to stay warm at the stop while you wait.
  2. Dress warmly. If you have to leave the house, wear several layers of loose-fitting clothes. The air trapped between each sweater or coat can retain your body heat and help keep you warm. It also helps to wear clothing that’s made of wool, which can hold in more heat than an item made from cotton. A synthetic fabric like polypropylene can also wick moisture away and hold heat.
  3. Protect your extremities. Keep your earlobes, fingers, toes and the tip of your nose covered when you go outside. These areas have the highest risk for frostbite if they aren’t properly protected. To keep your fingers warmer, opt for mittens instead of gloves.
  4. Don’t push yourself too hard. There may be a lot of snow to move outside, but only shovel if you have to. That’s because vigorous exercise in cold weather can put extra strain on your heart. Make sure you follow your doctor’s advice on working outdoors, especially if you have high blood pressure or heart disease. Read more tips for how to safely shovel snow.
  5. Take it easy on ice. If you venture outside, watch out for ice – which can cause you (or others) to slip and fall. Rock salt loses its effectiveness below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, so use ice melt on surfaces like sidewalks, stairs and driveways. You can also spread sand on your walkways to provide a little more traction. If you’re on the move, go slow and take short steps or shuffle for stability. You can also try a slip-on winter traction device over your shoes.
  6. Know the signs of frozen pipes (and how to stop them). Your pipes are more susceptible to freezing and bursting in extreme cold. This can cause messy (and expensive) water damage to your home. To reduce the chance of damage, let cold water drip from your faucets and open the cabinets below your sinks. Add some extra protection by covering your pipes with insulation. Get more tips in this related story on preventing frozen pipes.
  7. Watch over babies, pets and the elderly. Babies have a harder time maintaining their body temperature than adults, so it’s best to keep them bundled up and away from extreme cold. It’s more difficult for the elderly to regulate their temperature, too. So check in with your older neighbors and family members to make sure they’re staying warm. And don’t forget about protecting your pets in these frigid temperatures.

Planning is smart. But just like the weather, life is rarely predictable. For whatever’s in store, Erie Insurance is with you on the journey. To learn how we can help protect you and your family, talk to your local ERIE agent.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

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Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.