Winter Weather Safety

City of Brighton residents and visitors can experience extreme fluctuations in weather and temperatures during the winter months, and we can be exposed to dangerous winter weather conditions from time to time. Taking preventive action is the best way to stay safe during winter months and extreme cold-weather conditions. By preparing your home, car and family in advance, you can reduce the risk of weather-related problems for yourself and your family.

Preparing and Heating Your Home for Winter:

Weatherproofing your home:

There are many things you can do to weatherproof your home and prepare it for the colder winter months:

  • To keep your house comfortable and safe, insulate the walls and attic
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside
  • Insulate any water lines that run along outer walls to keep from freezing
  • Service snow-removal equipment and have your chimney and flue inspected by a professional
  • Install an easy-to-read outdoor thermometer
  • Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or car.

Heating your home safely:

Heating your home in a safe way is extremely important:

  • Do not use generators, pressure washers, charcoal grills, camp stoves, or other fuel-burning devices indoors or in enclosed or partially enclosed areas such as garages, even with doors or windows open
  • Do not put these devices outside near an open door, window or air vent
  • Store a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher near the area to be heated
  • Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns rather than candles
  • Never leave lit candles unattended
  • Have your heating system serviced by a qualified technician every year
  • Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector
  • Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If you believe there is a gas leak, immediately leave the house and leave the doors open. DO NOT return until the system is checked by a professional
  • DO NOT place a space heater within three feet of anything that may catch on fire such as drapes, furniture, or bedding
  • Make sure the cord of an electric heater is not a tripping hazard, but do not run the cord under carpets or rugs. Avoid using extension cords to plug in your space heater.

Vehicle Safety BEFORE Winter Weather Conditions:

  • Check your car’s radiator system and have it serviced as needed
  • Make sure the antifreeze has the right amount and mixture for winter
  • Have proper windshield wiper blades for your vehicle  
  • Replace your wiper washing fluid with one that is specific for winter driving
  • Have you battery tested to avoid a car that won’t start in cold weather
  • Check your tires for any worn areas and make sure they are inflated to the right pressure
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up
  • Keep kitty litter or sand in your car for traction in case you get stuck in snow
  • Maintain a car emergency kit (in every vehicle!) appropriate for winter (to include: flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, warm/waterproof clothes, first aid kit, sunglasses, jumper cables, ice scraper/snow brush, tow rope, road flares, cell phone charger, ect.)

Driving DURING Winter Weather Conditions:

  • Driving too quickly is the main cause of accidents in winter conditions
  • Avoid abrupt acceleration, braking and turns
  • Know your brakes. The best way to stop is to Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do so
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible
  • DO NOT tailgate!
  • DO NOT use cruise control in winter driving conditions
  • Always wear your seat belt

Stay Home or Stay Put:

  • Use your judgment to decide if the weather is too dangerous to drive. Stay home and off the roads whenever possible in potentially dangerous conditions. Even if you drive well in the snow, not everyone else has your skills
  • If you are already out on the road and conditions become too dangerous to drive safely, pull over to a safe spot and wait until conditions improve
  • Tune into local media (TV/Internet/Radio) for updated weather information