Winter weather tips

Be prepared

Learn how to prepare for emergencies to safeguard yourself and your family.
  • Be sure you have a disaster kit, including flashlights with extra batteries.
  • If roads are snowy or icy, don't drive unless you need to. 
  • Use City snow routes if possible. The City has prioritized which roads will be plowed first. 
  • Get checklists and tips for winter weather in English and other languages at TakeWinterbyStorm
  • Follow winter weather safety tips (PDF)
  • Stay safe in winter weather (PDF)
  • Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs.
  • Never use gas ovens, gas ranges, barbecues, or propane heaters for indoor heating. Doing so can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. These can also increase the risk of fire.
  • Generators should only be operated outdoors, and far from open windows and vents.
  • Prevent frozen pipes 
  • Ice on ponds and lakes is probably not thick enough to support your weight. Warn kids to avoid playing on frozen lakes and ponds.

City Hall in the snow

Tips for driving in icy conditions

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. 
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on ice-covered roads. 
  • Increase following distance. The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS) and need to slow down quickly, press hard on the pedal-it’s normal for the pedal to vibrate a bit when the ABS is activated.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills.  Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.