Winter Preparedness

Winter is coming! In WI, that means freezing temperatures, icy roads, and lots of snow. Now is the time to prepare. Here are a few tips to make sure you, your family, and your vehicle is ready for the cold Wisconsin weather.

Make sure you have warm boots, pants, coats, hats, gloves, and scarves, and thermal under clothes for yourself and your family. Children especially need a few extra layers to help keep out the cold.

Shut and lock all windows in your apartment to make sure the warm air stays in and the cold air stays out.

Pay attention to local weather forecasts and alerts for related freezing temperatures and snow. You will also find most school cancelations on the news tickers, email, and text messages.

Prepare your vehicles by ensuring proper fluid levels, especially antifreeze which keeps your engine from freezing in extremely cold weather. Be sure to have windshield wiper fluid to help remove snow and ice. Review your owner’s manual for more information on how to do this.

Check your tires for proper tread and tire pressure. Good tires are the key to being safe on the road in bad weather. Your owner’s manual will tell you the proper tread and air pressure.

Have an emergency kit in your vehicle and keep a full tank of gas, especially when traveling. Also include these additional items:

  • Extra blankets
  • Spare set of winter clothes/boots/outerwear
  • Flashlight
  • Cell phone car charger
  • Snow broom
  • Small shovel (in the event you need to dig out your car)
  • Water/snacks (in the event you are stranded)

*Calling 511 or checking before any long driving trips will give you updates on Wisconsin road conditions. When walking or driving on snow and ice always remember to go slow and stay safe, better to be arrive a little late than getting injured or in an accident.

If Your Car Gets Stuck

Make certain your wheels are not turned to the side when you try to back up or go forward. The car will be easier to move if the wheels are pointed straight. Remove as much snow as possible from around each wheel. Clear snow from the wheel tracks. If the wheels are spinning, sprinkle sand in front of and behind all four wheels, where they meet the snow or ice. Try to move the vehicle (even by an inch or two) and stop. Turn off the car and secure the emergency brake for safety. Then sprinkle more sand around all four wheels, and repeat. Unfortunately, for university liability reasons, staff are not allowed to help residents with stuck cars. It may be a good idea to speak with your insurance company about roadside assistance or look into companies that provide emergency vehicle services.

Wisconsin winters can be hazardous and even a bit brutal, but also a lot of fun. Skiing, sledding, building snowmen, or just walking through the snow can be enjoyable if we are warm, safe, and ready for it. Happy Winter!