Prepare these three crucial parts of your life now, and you can rest easy knowing you’ll be ready for the first unexpected winter storm. 

1. Your car

You’ll need more than a snow scraper to survive. My mom used to always tell me to create a winter survival kit for my vehicle in case I went off the road. I never actually prepared it. Now that I’m a mother I see why. 

Keep a small broom and a bag of sand or kitty litter in your trunk. You can use this to create traction under the wheels of your car in case you get stuck in the snow. Be prepared with a set of full boots, hat, snow pants and mittens so you can remain warm. Blankets too. I know, it sounds like overkill ... until you are freezing in your car waiting for help. It doesn’t hurt to have a way to start a fire, and it’s always good to have flares or something brightly colored and contrasting to tie to your car so you can be found more easily.

2. Your home

Have a plan for heat if the power goes out. We have a generator but we have to make sure the contract is set with the company who keeps it fueled and serviced. Not as lazy as us? You do your own? I’m super impressed. Set calendar reminders to check the fuel and your stockpile of wood. I find this is one of the best things about technology. I set mine to remind me ahead of time to pour salt into the water softener and make sure there’s enough for the winter so we don’t have to haul the salt bags in the snow.

3. Your phone

Download a radar app to your phone and open it before you drive. You will have the most critical information at your fingertips. Don’t rely on the single icon on your weather app because as you drive, conditions can change rapidly. Taking the personal responsibility of learning how to read the simple radar will help you determine what you will encounter precipitation-wise before you get out the door. I’m flabbergasted how few people know it’s going to rain when I know a big line of storms is coming. Don’t get caught driving when sleet and freezing rain are on the way. You can avoid it all by knowing how to read the radar.