Winter storm Stella will affect millions on the East Coast by this evening. While driving in snow it’s important to understand and use new technology properly. There are several things you can do before the storm hits for wireless communications and your vehicle.
To start off, make a plan with your family about who to contact and what to do if you are separated.
While it’s safest to avoid driving in bad weather, if you must go make sure your vehicle is ready for the weather. Make sure that you have a certified mechanic inspect your vehicle and schedule any overdue maintenance. Winter tires are built for better traction on snow and ice. Make sure that you have a full tank of gas, you may not have time to find a gas station. Check your antifreeze to be sure it is for freezing weather.
Winter Driving Safety Checklist
- Scrape the snow off the car, lights, windows and sensors.
- Don’t use cruise control in slippery and wet conditions it designed for even pavement.
- Don’t pump anti-lock brakes, press them firmly and apply pressure.
- Adjust your speed by how far you can see ahead.
- During the day wear a good pair of sunglasses, snow is very reflective and creates glare.
- Never stay in vehicle in an enclosed space while you are warming up.
- Increase the distance behind vehicles.
- Carefully scan road surfaces ahead.
- Don’t go through snow drifts, there could be debris hidden in the snow.
- Keep winter clothing, hats, gloves, boots and a blanket in your car, in case you have to walk home. A mylar blanket can keep you warm if your car gets stuck.
- Consider staying off the roads in extremely bad weather. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends waiting to travel until the worst weather is over to allow snow plows to get through.
Your car and your smartphone:
- Do not leave your phone in a freezing cold car. If the phone is exposed to cold weather for long period of time it can reduce battery juice and even damage the phone (the same is true for extreme heat).
- In case of a disasters the networks become congested. If there is problem making voice calls, send text messages, they use less bandwidth and are more likely to get through.
- Make sure you have way of charging your phone in your car via USB cord or 12-Volt charging port. Keep extra charged batteries available.
- Back up your phone numbers to the cloud via Android or iCloud.
- If it looks like you will be without power for a while shut off the smartphone and notifications when you are not using it.
- Store phones, tablets, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location. Simple zip-lock storage bags will shield devices, and there are many weatherproof phones, cases and other protective accessories available.
- Keep phone and tablet batteries fully charged starting in case local power is lost.
- Keep a list of emergency numbers – police and fire departments; power and insurance companies; family, friends and co-workers; etc. – and program them into your phones or tablets before an emergency arises.
- Use your tablet or smartphone to photograph and catalogue your valuables and other household belongings for possible insurance claims.
Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, wear mittens and a hat preferably one that covers your ears. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
Food & Light
Keep water, protein bars, beef jerky and other non-perishable food in the car. Keep extra supplies of water and food at home. Make sure you have fresh batteries for flashlights. Have an insulated cooler available to store food if the power goes out.
If you have any other suggestions please leave them in the comments below. Good luck with dealing with the storm.