Stay Safe This Winter with These Tips
Everyone loves a winter wonderland. However, getting to work and school–or anywhere in Northern Virginia during a slippery snowstorm- can be complicated and, in some cases, life-threatening. Furthermore, pipes freeze, ice builds on your sidewalk, and your immunity plummets, leaving you vulnerable to whatever flu or virus is circling the community.
Additionally, we understand the importance of enjoying the winter season. Therefore, we'll also share some fun and safe winter activities you can enjoy in our local area. We've got you covered, from the best spots for sledding and skiing to cozy indoor activities.
If you’re new to the area or are just dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s for winter safety, here are some tips from seasoned Vienna locals to survive the winter. In Northern Virginia, winter weather can be unpredictable. Sudden snowstorms can create hazardous driving conditions, and freezing temperatures can lead to dangerous ice accumulation. Stay safe and enjoy all the area offers during the winter.
Prepare Your Car for the Worst
In the past, unsuspecting travelers have gotten stuck on I-95 or Route 66 in the area due to a snowstorm that plummets cars into bumper-to-bumper traffic that simply will not move. In these situations, being without gas, supplies, food, or blankets could lead to freezing. After November, always ensure you have a full gas tank before leaving for a longer road.
Ensure the antifreeze is at the correct level and the mixture is appropriate for your vehicle and the expected temperatures. Pack an emergency kit including blankets, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, a small shovel, snacks, water, and a portable phone charger. This can be a lifesaver if you get stranded.
We’ve all heard the story of how a friend or relative slipped and fell on the ice that formed outside their home. It can be difficult to keep on top of treating your sidewalks and driveway, but ice could be life-threatening, not just inconvenient.
Before a snowstorm hits, pre-treat your driveway and sidewalks with a de-icing agent. Rock salt (sodium chloride) is commonly used for its affordability and effectiveness. However, for temperatures below -12°C (10°F), consider alternatives like calcium chloride or magnesium chloride, which work at lower temperatures and are less harmful to plants and concrete.
But even if it doesn’t snow, or if you aren’t aware of snow coming any time soon, head outside and check for dips and shallow areas in your sidewalk or driveway. This way, you become aware of spots that might pool water and eventually freeze in the cold weather.
Stay Healthy Regardless of the Weather Outside
Your immunity decreases in the winter, making getting juice, vitamins, fresh vegetables, fruits, and exercise important. Go for long walks in historic Vienna to keep your circulation going–don’t worry about the ice! The town government scrapes and prepares sidewalks so that no one slips.
Regular hand washing, avoiding close contact with sick individuals, and keeping your vaccinations up-to-date are simple yet effective ways to reduce your risk of infections. Drinking fluids, especially water, helps your body naturally eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine, as they can dehydrate you.
Keep Your Pipes from Bursting
You don’t have to be a plumbing expert to keep your pipes from freezing. Maintain a consistent temperature in your home, day and night. Even if you're not home, keeping your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit can prevent your pipes from freezing. Let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes on extremely cold nights. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.