With nearly 70 percent of the nation’s roads in snowy regions, the majority of Americans have had a “white-knuckle” driving experience in their past. Winter roads claim the lives of 1,300 people every year and injure 116,800, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Fortunately, new features including forward collision alerts and lane departure warnings, are protecting Americans on slick roads. The impact of these new safety features has been substantial.
Vehicles made after the year 2000 helped to prevent 700,000 crashes, saved the lives of an estimated 2,000 people annually and kept one million people safe from injury, according to a report conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“There’s no question, vehicles are safer today than they were a decade or two ago,” says Phil Marzolf, manager of i25 Kia outside of Denver. “Consumers are embracing new features that provide additional safety during bad weather conditions.”
Along with winter come cozy evenings by the fire and trips to the slopes. But, winter weather also brings a number of risks for you, your family, and your property. Pipes can burst, fireplaces can cause smoke and other damage, and roofs can strain under the load of snow and ice.
Before Winter Arrives
Winter-proof your car with good snow tires or chains, new wiper blades, antifreeze and emergency road supplies.
Keep your attic cool to help prevent ice dams.
Insulate the attic floor and make sure it’s well ventilated.
Don’t overload circuits with holiday decorations.
Keep your home stocked with emergency supplies, including food and flashlights.
Hire a professional to inspect, clean and repair your fireplace and chimney, if needed, to reduce fireplace risks.
Sign up for mobile weather alerts.
Ensure all family members have proper cold weather gear.
Service your furnace, snow blower, and generator, if needed.
If your heating source requires any type of fuel, be sure to stock up.
Make sure fire extinguishers are on hand and that all family members know how to use them.
During a Winter Storm
If you don’t have to drive, stay put.
If you must drive, make sure you’ve winterized your car and have a full tank of gas and a fully charged phone.
When the air’s cold, keep bath and kitchen cabinet doors open so warm air can circulate around pipes.
If pipes do freeze, let them thaw normally as they’ll be less likely to burst.
If the power is out, make sure you don’t leave candles or fires burning unattended.
If you use a portable generator, follow the instructions, and don’t use it indoors.
Ensure any animals on your property are safe.
After a Winter Storm
Once the worst of the storm is over and you’ve ensured your family and pets are safe, take steps to:
Shovel your sidewalk so your property is safe for others, but take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water to avoid overexertion.
Check on neighbors and senior family members who may require help.
Clear off fire hydrants and the surrounding area to be sure hydrants are visible to firefighters.
Reduce the strain of snow accumulation on top of structures, if possible to safely do so with a roof rake.
Tune in to radio or TV broadcasts for information on road and weather conditions.
Completely brush or scrape snow and ice off your car before driving.
Conserve heat by keeping curtains or blinds closed and by closing the doors to rarely used rooms, especially if your heat source goes out.
If you’re active outdoors, cover your body from head to toe and change out of any wet clothes immediately.
Ensure outdoor animals have adequate shelter and water that is not frozen.
Find temporary shelter, if needed, by texting SHELTER and your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA).
Learn more by contacting Duda Insurance for more information or call (509) 787-4447.
It doesn’t have to be a tornado or hurricane. A strong, gale-force wind can whip up and pack plenty of punch – and it can blow large debris around, causing real danger to people and potential damage to property. Without proper wind protection, windborne debris can break unprotected windows and blow doors off their hinges. Also, once a forceful gale enters a structure, the home’s contents will be exposed to the elements.If you live or are building a house in an area where damaging winds are common, we’ve got some wind protection suggestions to fortify your home against nature’s blusters.
Strong winds call for strong windows
If you’re building a home, avoid designs with large areas of glass, windows with multiple panels, and double-entry doors. And check local building codes for windborne debris protection requirements.
For an existing structure, your top priority is securing windows and other areas covered by glass. Your two best choices: permanent or temporary storm shutters.
Consider using permanent storm shutters if you live in an area where you will need to act quickly to protect your windows.
Usually made of aluminum or steel, permanent shutters provide the sturdiest protection.
They may be manually operated and motor-driven. If you buy motor-driven shutters, make sure they also can be operated manually if the power fails.
Look for models that meet the wind load and impact standards for your area. They’re available in a wide range of sizes, so you can use them to protect many types of openings.
Temporary plywood covers can be an economical alternative to permanent storm shutters.
Temporary covers can be installed pretty quickly if the necessary preparations are made first.
Plywood covers can also be used to protect sliding glass doors and French doors.
Don’t wait until there’s a hurricane or high wind warning to build your temporary covers. Make them during the “off season,” so you’ll be ready to install them at any time.
When storing the covers, use a numbering or lettering system to know which cover goes with which window. Store the mounting screws or lag bolts nearby.
Other ways to protect your home and the things in it from high-wind damage:
Reinforce your garage door. Because of the extreme tension in a garage door counterbalance system and the potential for additional wind impact, this is a job best left to a professional.
Remove or securely anchor any loose objects on your property that could be picked up and tossed by the wind. This includes trash cans, grills, and lawn or deck furniture.
Use the straps and ground anchors on manufactured homes to anchor outbuildings, especially small garden sheds that aren’t on a permanent foundation.
Remove large trees near your property that could topple into your home. Unless you’re a lumberjack, this is another job for a skilled contractor.
Talk to us
Even with the best preparation, you can still sustain damage from unexpected events like windstorms. Contact an agent today to protect your home with the right homeowners insurance for your needs.