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Baby it's cold outside!

Meghan Overdeep

Schools are closed, the Piggly Wiggly is plum out of milk and bread, and it’s a winter wonderland all across the southern states. So what now?

It’s no secret that we lose our minds when it snows in the Deep South, because when we get hit, we get hit hard. So in an effort to maintain as much of our sanity as possible while Mother Nature unleashes her wintery fury upon us, we’re here with six ways to make sure you ride this one out as safely (and happily) as possible.

1.     Walk like a penguin.

It’s all fun and games until somebody (God forbid Memaw) slips on the ice. Luckily German doctors have come up with the safest way to tread across snow and ice, and it looks pretty familiar. As funny as it may be, the German Society of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery suggests that walking like a penguin can significantly reduce slips and falls.

So how can you channel your inner penguin? Instead of splitting your weight evenly between both legs as you walk, lean your weight onto your front leg. And don’t forget to put your arms out! Squawking not required.

2.     Master de-icing your car.

Oh no, you misplaced that scraper you bought all those years ago and your windshield is encrusted in ice. When you’re in a rush and your car’s defroster setting (on the highest heat) just won’t do to trick, consider this handy trick from WATE Meterologist Ken Weathers in eastern Tennessee. A simple solution of rubbing alcohol and water—applied using a spray bottle—will banish ice from your windshield, windows and headlights. Find out how to make it on Weather’s Facebook page.

3.     Drive safely.

We can’t emphasize this one enough. When the weather takes a turn for the worst, unfortunately so do our roads. AAA offers the following guidelines for driving in the snow:

●      Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

●      Drive slowly. Everything—accelerating, stopping, turning—takes longer on snow-covered roads.

●      The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds.

●      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. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top.

●      Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

●      Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can.

4.     Have fun!

We don’t get many snow days down here, so why not make the best of it? Encourage your kids to get out of the house and go sledding, make a snowman, and if they’re old enough, to start a neighborhood snowball fight. If you don’t have sleds, then pool floats, trash can lids, yoga mats or even cafeteria trays should do the trick. No kids? No problem? Take advantage of the weather to stay inside and read a book or do some coloring.

5.     Deck out your dog.

Your pup is probably just as freaked out by this weather as you are. When temperatures dip, many short-haired breeds need a little extra something to keep them warm. If you see Fido shivering or notice he’s hesitant to go outside, he might need a coat. Limit his outdoor time if he seems uncomfortable—dogs get hypothermia too!

6.     Serve up some wintery treats.

A wintery storm calls for hot drinks and hot food. Treat yourself and warm up a little by whipping up one of William Faulkner's signature hot toddies or a boozy buttermint white hot chocolate and get something going in that slow cooker for when the troops come in from shoveling the driveway.

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