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Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Firmly in grasp of winter [Editorial]

Frozen pipes, dead car batteries and an increase in the number of people visiting their doctors or emergency rooms due to falls are all signs of cold weather that we should be accustomed to and, in some cases, could avoid with a little preparation.

This week's snow and cold blast are leaving more people scrambling.

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Back in November when the region saw the first frigid temperatures of the season, AAA Mid-Atlantic reported a big spike in the number of service calls for motorists stranded with dead batteries. At the time, the agency said assistance calls had risen 22 percent over the same time the previous year, and said throughout the region it responded to 2,251 calls for dead batteries, including 551 from Maryland motorists.

Making sure your battery is in good condition is essential for motorists, but checking your automobile's fluids and tire pressure can also help reduce the chance of getting stranded on a cold day.

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In the home, plumbers are seeing an increase in calls that comes with colder weather as more people are reporting frozen pipes. Energy suppliers such as BGE have been offering up tips for residents on how to prepare for cold weather and things that they can do to reduce their home heating costs.

In a press release, Carol Dodson, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE said, "the forecasted low temperatures will likely cause energy usage to increase, even for customers who leave their thermostats at a set temperature, as heating systems must work harder and longer to maintain the set temperatures. Without taking steps to save energy during these times, energy bills will reflect additional usage and will likely be higher than in months when temperatures are more moderate." BGE encourages customers to visit its website for tips on reducing costs.

People also need to remember to take care of themselves in the colder weather. Dressing in layers and making sure that you are well-covered against the wind and cold is essential. And whether you are walking or driving, you need to take precautions and watch for areas where ice may have thawed and then refroze. Steps, driveways and sidewalks that were clear yesterday may be slippery again today if there was thawing during the day.

The next couple months will have some warmer days, but we should be prepared for changes and keep up with weather reports so we know what to expect. Baby new year may have been getting the most attention the past week or so, but this week is a reminder that old man winter has arrived, and he plans to stay around a for a while.


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