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Take Winter by Storm offers tips in preparation for holiday travel

Holiday travel, expected to be in full swing in just about a week, can be particularly expensive and stressful. Making sure to prepare in advance of upcoming travel for weather scenarios that might occur while you’re away is an important step to ensuring that costs and chaos are minimized. Being prepared can help you avoid weather-related incidents such as driving accidents and flooding in the house.

If travel plans are in your near future, whether one day or multiple weeks, Take Winter By Storm — a regional campaign to help people get prepared before bad weather strikes — offers the following tips.

• Do a Quick Maintenance Check Around Your Yard

Even with cold weather conditions upon us, your yard still needs to be maintained. Take care of these yard concerns before you hit the road to protect your house and windows: • Trim tree and shrub branches away from the house and windows. Icy conditions can cause branches to break and damage your home.

• While you’re outside, clear debris off gas meters and away from basement windows and clean out those gutters to allow water to properly drain off the roof.  • Finally, disconnect your garden hose and cover the faucet with insulation to prevent it from freezing.

• Protect Your Home from Winter Hazards, Pests and Save Costs, Too

A couple preventative steps around the house can go a long way in avoiding major, costly damage while you’re away:

• Insulate exposed water pipes (those located in attics, crawl spaces, basements, and near uninsulated outer walls) to protect them from freezing and bursting.

• Walk around your home and survey your house. Check the foundation for small cracks or openings where pests seeking warmth can tunnel and seal up any possible entrances.

• If you’re traveling for more than a couple of days, turn off your water heater at the circuit breaker to save energy. Make sure to also turn off all holiday lights/decorations to prevent fires.

• Take Extra Caution On Roads

The holidays mean significantly more traffic on the roads, often during seasonal weather conditions such as rain, fog, ice and even snow, and more potential pitfalls in transit. These tips will help you stay safe and keep holiday plans on track:

• If possible, plan your trip to avoid driving at night. Ninety percent of a driver’s reaction depends on vision, thus the night driving accident rate is about three times that of daylight driving.

• Double-check to make sure you've got jumper cables in your trunk. Cold weather takes its toll on car batteries. An easy jump-start could save you or someone you see on your journey a lot of time and hassle.

• Have your vehicle properly serviced and stock it with items that might be helpful in case of a problem: thick blankets, extra food and water, coats, and a flashlight. A winter storm can leave you spending your holiday stuck in horrendous traffic or worse yet, stranded.

 

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