Many parts of the country are used to dealing with downright nasty winter precipitation, but for much of Florida, this simply isn’t the case. In fact, such weather is incredibly abnormal, which makes the roadways (and sometimes even homes) more dangerous than usual. Here are three very important Florida winter weather and snow safety tips to keep in mind during these unusual periods.
Use Kerosene Heaters with Caution
Many Floridians simply don’t have furnaces installed in their homes, which means they rely on space heat to help them stay warm during cold snaps – especially when temperatures plunge below freezing like they did in parts of the state in January 2018. Kerosene heaters provide quick, relatively efficient heat, but they are only as safe as the people using them. These heaters do require ventilation as the combustion gases can be toxic, they produce open flames, and they can get quite hot to the touch. Be sure to keep kids and pets away from these heaters and provide adequate ventilation.
Drive Safely in Florida Winter Weather
Snow is a rarity in Florida, and it fell in places like Jacksonville and Tallahassee in winter 2018. Because Floridians are not used to such weather events and the way wintry precipitation affects the roads, it often leads to accidents and slide-offs. Here are some tips for driving safely on Florida’s roadways during winter precipitation events:
- Drive slowly. Driving slowly is the best way to avoid accidents during Florida winter weather events. Give yourself extra time to reach your destination, and don’t rush.
- Don’t use cruise control. Cruise control is very beneficial during good weather, but it can be problematic when driving in snow or ice. If your car loses traction, your cruise control may not turn itself off, causing your car to propel itself forward very quickly when it gains traction again.
- Downshift to slow down. Though your brakes are very important in keeping you safe, your transmission is actually the safest tool for slowing you down, especially when going over potentially frozen bridges, down hills, or even around corners. Slow down well in advance, then downshift to help control your car’s speed.
Keep Your HVAC System in Good Working Order
Of the Florida homeowners who do have gas, electric, oil, or even geothermal heating, there are many who do not have their systems serviced as often as they should simply because they don’t frequently need to use the heat. This can create serious issues, especially when temperatures plummet. Waiting until Florida winter weather events have been forecast to schedule a maintenance visit may prove troublesome; this is a busy time for HVAC companies. Instead, be sure to have your HVAC system serviced and inspected once every single year to ensure you are ready for the cold temperatures.
Though snow, ice, and freezing temperatures are rare in Florida, they can and do occur. It is always best to be prepared for the worst, and these tips can certainly help. Understanding these tips for heating your home and driving carefully could save your life, and having your HVAC system inspected regularly can ensure your family’s comfort regardless of what Mother Nature brings your way.