States across the country have been hit especially hard this winter by a potentially dangerous mix of snow, sleet, ice and wind.
Don't be caught unprepared! Twenty-five percent of all winter-related fatalities occur because people out in the storm are caught off guard, according to the National Weather Service. Check out these tips from "Good Morning America" to protect yourself against dangerous winter weather conditions.
CLICK HERE for "GMA" contributor Wendy Bounds' Wall Street Journal article on affordable gadgets, ways to tackle winter ice and snow.
Please use caution and be aware of hazardous driving conditions. Roads will be snow covered and dangerous. People are encouraged to use discretion and not go out unless it is absolutely necessary. Traffic lights may be out and roads will be congested.
During snow storm conditions, snow plows are considered emergency vehicles and should be given the right of way. Listen to the weather reports, plan accordingly.
Plan alternate routes to prevent traffic jams.
Exercise caution when driving; Drive as the road dictates. Slow and steady is the name of the game.
Have an emergency supply kit in the vehicle: A fully charged mobile phone, charger, spare batteries, blanket/sleeping bags, extra food and water are essential.
Keep the gas tank as full as possible. If stranded, run the car periodically to preserve fuel, stay with the car, do not wander away.
Make sure someone knows your route and timetable.
Have a disaster kit ready.
Major concerns for individuals are loss of heat, power, and telephone service. Individuals and families should have food and water, flashlights and batteries, first aid supplies and a battery operated radio in their disaster kit.
Emergency 911 phone system should be limited to life-threatening situations only.
Prepare your home for a power outage. If you have to leave your home and seek shelter, remember to bring your medications and sleeping gear such as blankets and sleeping bags. Most of these items will not be provided by the shelter or will be in short supply.
Identify the most insulated room in advance. That's where you and your family can gather if you need to stay warm.
Turn your thermostat to low and turn off the circuit breaker for your water heater to reduce high demand for electricity once the power comes back on.
Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics. This will help prevent an overload that can cause it to go off again.
Leave one light switch on so you'll know when electricity has been restored.
Do not touch any electrical power lines and keep your family away from them.
The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Remember that carbon monoxide kills.
CLICK HERE to visit the National Weather Service's website.