Extreme cold: How to stay healthy and keep your car in good shape

Local
Dangerously Cold Winter Weather

Prolonged exposure to extreme winter weather presents a clear danger to our health and may cause problems with our cars.

According to Business Insider, here are some things you can do to make sure you stay healthy. 

  • Wear mittens instead of gloves. The mittens offer more warmth since fingers have skin-to-skin contact allowing the transfer of body heat.
  • Avoid wearing cotton as it holds moisture and loses its insulating properties. 
  • Dry your shoes quickly with newspaper. Sticking them in a dryer could shrink them. Instead, stuff wet shoes with newspaper. it will absorb the moisture quickly. 
  • Use lotion on your skin immediately after a shower to lock in some of the moisture.  
  • Know the signs of dangers like frostbite that attacks extremities and exposed skin. 

“If you get frostbite, you’ll see a skin coloration change – white or grey, sometimes blue, and if it’s very severe, it will turn black,” said Richard Keene, a nurse practitioner at Geisinger Holy Spirit. “With the hypothermia issue, if you start shaking, becoming confused, notice people with you are becoming confused, slurring speech, things are really making sense and they aren’t remembering situations as they’re happening…that’s when you want to go seek shelter.”

According to the National Weather Service, if the temperature is zero and the wind speed is 15 mph, you can get frostbite in a half hour.

Your car may also have a tough time fending off the sub-zero temperatures.

Automatic windows can freeze up. One car company says to get them working again, pour warm water around the seal of the door. Do not use boiling water, they warn, because the difference in temperature could cause the glass to shatter.

According to State Farm and Consumer Reports, there are five other pieces of advice for your car in the extreme cold. 

  • Check your tire pressure weekly. Driving on underinflated tires can cause them to wear down which can make you lose traction.
  • Keep your gas tank half full to keep fuel lines from freezing
  • Protect your windshield wipers. Leave the wipers in the raised position to prevent them from freezing to the windshield. Never use your wiper blades to remove ice, snow or frost. Instead, use an ice scraper. 
  • Check out your owners manual to make sure your engine is in good shape. At zero degrees Fahrenheit a battery has only about half the cranking power this it has in 80-degree weather.
  • Make sure your oil is fresh and clean. In these temperatures, motor oil thickens making it harder for the engine to turn over. 

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