Groups offer snow tips

Published 1:00 pm Monday, March 3, 2014

At the beginning of a month in which residents begin contemplating the end of winter, Suffolk is experiencing the fourth snow event this season.

The National Weather Service predicts snow and sleet will become all snow after 4 p.m. Monday, with snowfall heavy at times. A total daytime snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 3 inches was possible.

Overnight Monday, there is a chance of snow before midnight, with the temperature dropping to 15 degrees. Change of overnight precipitation is 50 percent, according to the service, with new snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.

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AAA Tidewater Virginia has offered various tips for preparing vehicles for the snow, as well as driving tips:

  • Ensure the battery, ignition system, and lights are in good working order.
  • Check brakes and tires for wear that might making stopping and starting difficult.
  • Ensure tires are properly inflated and in good condition; the amount of traction determines how well the vehicle accelerates, turns and stops.
  • Check the level of antifreeze in your vehicle’s cooling system.
  • Wipers should be checked; washer fluids need to be filled with anti-freeze washer solvent. Wipe off wiper blades before you drive to avoid damage from ice.
  • Have an emergency winter driving kit in the vehicle, including items like: abrasive material (sand, or kitty litter), small shovel, flashlight, ice scraper/snow brush, booster cables, blanket, gloves or mittens, flares or reflective triangles.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • Remove all snow from vehicle; snow left on any surface increases the possibility that visibility will be affected while driving.
  • Wear your seat belt and make sure everyone in the vehicle does as well.
  • Give yourself a bigger margin of safety around your vehicle. Leave a bigger gap in front, on the side and behind your vehicle as well.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface.
  • Use extra caution on bridges, overpasses, shaded spots and intersections when approaching other vehicles.
  • Brake slowly and gently; slamming on the brakes on ice covered roads dramatically increases your risk of losing control of your vehicle.
  • If you start to skid, take your foot off the brake, ease off the gas pedal and steer in the direction you want to go; this helps keep you from over-correction, a common cause of crashes in snow and ice conditions.
  • The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety offered the following tips for preparing for power outages – a possibility with any storm event – as well as operating heaters safely:
  • Maintain at least a 36-inch clearance between a stove or space heater and combustible materials, such as furniture and clothing.
  • Prior to using a wood stove, place a layer of sand or firebrick in the bottom of the firebox.
  • Do not leave a space heater unattended.
  • Electric heaters should be inspected prior to use; check the cord for fraying, cracking and look for broken wires or signs of overheating in the device itself.
  • Use only heavy-duty extension cords marked with a No. 14 gauge or larger wire.
  • If the heater plug has a grounding prong, use only a grounding (three wire) extension cord.
  • Never run the heater cord (or any cord) under rugs or carpeting.
  • Never use gasoline or any other substitute fuel in liquid fuel-powered devices, and allow the heater to cool down prior to refueling.
  • Regular cleaning will keep s fireplace free of obstructions and creosote. If you haven’t had maintenance performed recently, use caution when operating the fireplace and never leave it unattended.
  • Make sure the damper is open.
  • Before use, inspect the chimney and fireplace area for debris and animals that could have taken up residence.
  • Maintain proper clearance around the fireplace and keep it clear of combustible materials such as books, newspapers and furniture.
  • Always close the screen when in use.
  • Keep glass doors open during the fire.
  • Use a fireplace grate.
  • Never burn garbage, rolled newspapers, charcoal or plastic in the fireplace.
  • Avoid using gasoline or any liquid accelerant.
  • Clean out ashes from previous fires and store them in a noncombustible container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the container outside and away from the house.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before closing the damper.
  • With a gas fireplace, adjust the millivolt output.
  • Keep glowing embers and logs clean.
  • Inspect and clean air circulation passages and fan.
  • Clean glass as needed. Avoid obstructing vents.