Looking outside and seeing snow-covered roads can make the decision to stay in bed a lot more tempting. We all know winter weather can get you in a rut – but there are plenty of ways to liven up when you’ve got cabin fever. (Read our list of 21 ways to beat cabin fever.)
Ready to break a sweat? Check out this list.
How to Exercise During Winter
One of the best ways to beat the boredom and stay active is to get outside. So, don’t curse the weather… bundle up and enjoy it! Here are some outside winter fitness ideas to try.
Snowshoeing/snow hiking: Snow on the ground doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your area parks and trails. Many state and local parks stay open year-round in any weather. These hikes can be an easy walk or an intense workout, depending on how hard you push yourself.
Skiing/snowboarding/sledding: Making your way to a ski resort or your local hill can make for an exciting trip with friends or family. And it’s a great way to burn calories — especially if you’re walking back up the hill, too!
Snowmobiling: If you’ve got the space and the gear, snowmobiling is an intense way to get out and enjoy the winter weather. Don’t have a snowmobile of your own? A quick online search can help you find rental options in your area.
Ice skating: Ice skating is good for cardio and building lower body strength. If you can keep your balance, this is another fun activity for friends, family or couples.
Ice fishing: For outdoor enthusiasts, ice fishing is an excuse to catch fish year-round while tackling a new challenge. Just make sure you’re prepared before you drill through the lake. Read this how-to guide for safe ice fishing.
- Walking: A walk through light snow can be just as beautiful as any other season. As long as it’s not too cold, bundling up for a 15-minute walk will get you active and out of the house. In fact, many find the cool winter air to be especially refreshing.
- Shoveling snow: Clearing snow will help you break a sweat while clearing your walkways. Read our list of tips for safe shoveling before you get out the shovel and salt.
Of course, there are still going to be times when the snow’s thick and the air’s chilly. If you’re stuck inside, there’s no need to worry! Here are some ways to keep active indoors, too.
Join a gym. A gym membership will give you a place to go when you can’t get your exercise in anywhere else. It’s an easy way to get a full workout, since gyms have a wide range of equipment that wouldn’t fit in your home.
Take the stairs. Not ready to join a gym? Start with something a little less intimidating. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help you burn a few extra calories, and will build cardio stamina over time.
Join an indoor sports league. Just because winter starts doesn’t mean team sports stop. Check your local gym or community center for indoor sports leagues like soccer, tennis or basketball.
Use free weights or resistance bands. Don’t want to leave the comfort of your house? There’s plenty of equipment you can use at home to break a sweat. You can get a full-body workout with resistance bands or free weights, and they don’t take up much room.
- Watch online workout videos. Even without weights and bands, online workout videos can get you into shape in your own living room. Whether it’s cardio, yoga, pilates or strength training, there are dozens of options available to find the workout that’s right for you.
As the seasons change, your options for staying active do, too – whether it’s a walk through the snow, gliding on an ice rink or other activities that only last for the season.
With Erie Insurance, you can relax and enjoy more of what makes you and your family knowing that ERIE helps protect your home, the investments you made in your home and the things you value most. Learn more about homeowners insurance or find a local agent in your neighborhood to get a quote.
Posted on 15 January 2019 | 9:00 pm
On ice and snow-covered roads, it’s more important than ever to understand the basics of safe driving. Smart winter travel planning, reliable tires and regular vehicle maintenance all go a long way to keeping you safe on the road.
Related: 8 Things Your Car Needs in Winter
But when it comes to driving on ice, there are still some common misconceptions. You might hear conflicting advice on what to do if you lose traction. Should you pump your brakes, or not?
The answer: It depends.
When driving on ice, the safest technique will depend on whether your vehicle has an antilock braking system (ABS). Keep reading to find out when to pump and when not to pump.
How do antilock brakes work?
Antilock brakes decrease your stopping distance and increase control and stability during hard braking. It’s an especially useful feature on icy roads, where traction is limited. An antilock braking system is made up of speed sensors mounted on each wheel and an electro-hydraulic braking circuit. When used, ABS prevents your wheels from locking by monitoring the speed of each wheel and automatically pulsating the brake pressure when it detects skidding.
My car has ABS. Do I need to pump my brakes?
If your vehicle is equipped with ABS, you don’t need to pump the brakes when driving on slippery roads. Why? The brakes do it for you.
If you’re wondering how to use ABS, the answer is simple. Your vehicle will activate it automatically, pulsating the brakes as soon as the system detects a wheel skidding. Just firmly press your foot on the brake and maintain steady pressure. You’ll feel the brake pedal pulsate and the ABS light will flash on the instrument panel.
How do you know if your vehicle has antilock brakes?
It’s important to know your vehicle’s braking system before you end up navigating an icy road. Your owner’s manual should describe your braking system and how to operate your vehicle in slippery conditions.
As far as vehicle technologies go, antilock brake systems have been around for a while. By the late 1990s, ABS was becoming commonplace, even on entry-level vehicles. And in 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began mandating ABS on all new cars.
If your vehicle was built after 2013, then your vehicle has ABS. But if your car is older, you’ll want to check whether ABS was an included option. An ABS light on your dashboard is also an easy indicator of whether or not you have antilock brakes.
Many late-model vehicles are also equipped with traction control or electronic stability control, which can also help when driving on ice.
When to pump your brakes
If your vehicle doesn’t have antilock brakes, manually pumping can help maintain control on slippery roads. Gently apply and release pressure at a moderate rate. Do not apply quick or steady pressure, as this can cause your wheels to lock and your car to skid.
Bonus tip: What about winter tires?
ABS is a great safety feature to help you brake in slick conditions. In places with intermittent winter weather, all-season tires (with high traction and good tread depth) might be your best option. But if you live in a consistently snowy region you may want to consider a set of winter tires.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Snow Tires
Winter tires are made out of a softer rubber compound than summer or all-season tires. Combined with additional grooves – sometimes called siping – winter tires are specially designed to provide the best traction in winter weather.
In fact, according to a Consumer Reports test, winter tires can decrease your stopping distance by up to six feet in ice braking. That could be the difference between a safe stop and a rear-end collision.
Do studded tires help?
Studded or spiked tires only help if you’re driving on extremely and consistently icy roads. However, if you’re interested in these, check with your local Department of Transportation first for rules and regulations. They may not be legal in your area – and your day-to-day driving conditions might not be severe enough for studded tires to make a difference, anyway Visit a website like Tire Rack to find the best all-season or winter-weather tires for your vehicle based on its year, make and model.
Winter driving safety
When driving in winter weather, follow these tips:
- Plan ahead. Watch the forecast before you travel, and always leave wiggle room in your travel plans. It can make a big difference to take an alternate route or leave a little later to give road crews a chance to do their job.
- Take it slow. Reduce your speed and leave extra space between you and other vehicles. Start to brake earlier than usual for traffic lights and stop signs.
- Stay alert at intersections. With the constant stop and go of traffic, other drivers might slide out in front of you.
- Know where to spot ice. Remember that the “two tracks” worn down from routine travel are typically the most icy portion of the road. If you do lose traction, stay calm and steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go.
When you choose ERIE, you’ll always get tips and guidance for safe navigation. Why? Because we know the only thing better than a fast and easy claims process after an accident is avoiding accidents altogether. It’s just one way we’re looking ahead to help you be prepared for the road before you. Find an ERIE agent to learn more.
This story was originally published in 2009. It was updated with new information on Jan. 11, 2019.
Posted on 10 January 2019 | 9:00 pm
Winter driving has its challenges. But throw an inexperienced — or inconsiderate — driver into the mix, and your daily commute can get much more difficult.
It’s always aggravating when other drivers put you at risk. Getting stuck behind a driver who is spinning their tires or not paying attention isn’t just annoying… it’s dangerous.
Winter driving calls for quick decision making, patience and a little bit of know-how. Below you’ll find ways to spot a rookie winter driver — and how to avoid looking like one yourself:
6 Common Mistakes of Winter Drivers
Tailgating: Usually, drivers tailgate because they want the car in front of them to go faster. This is never OK, especially in the winter months. It takes longer to come to a stop in the winter, so you should always put more distance between you and the car ahead. Impatience on the road rarely pays off – tailgating just puts you and others at risk.
Speeding: Speeding can get you into trouble quickly. Make sure you’re never driving faster than what is safe for the conditions. In snowy or icy conditions, that probably means driving below the speed limit. The faster you're going, the more likely you are to lose control or slide into another car. Expect traffic to move a little slower in the winter and allow extra time to get to your destination.
Getting stuck: Driving through deep snow may sound like fun, but chances are it will leave your tires spinning. For your own safety, know when to stay off the road altogether and drive carefully to avoid losing traction in the first place. After all, getting stuck is easy – getting out isn’t.
Ice on the windshield: If your car has snow or ice on the windshield, it can be tempting to save time by letting your wipers or defroster remove it as you drive. But driving without full visibility is like driving blindfolded. Use a snow brush or ice scraper to clear your windshield entirely every time you get behind the wheel. (And don’t just clear a little “window” you can see through!)
Snow on the roof: If you’ve ever driven behind someone with snow on their roof, you know it can be an accident waiting to happen. If your car is covered in snow, take the time to clear your roof before you tackle the windows. You’ll keep snow from falling in your field of vision and from hitting the drivers behind you.
- Driving with high beams on: This can be frustrating in any condition, but some people think that high beams will increase your vision during whiteouts or heavy snowfall. In fact, fog lights and low beams will do much better. Learn what to do if you get stuck driving in a whiteout.
Just like other people's driving, winter weather can be unpredictable. But even the safest, most experienced drivers can get into an accident. That’s why it’s important to have the right insurance to protect you and your vehicle. Learn about the extras available with every Erie Insurance auto policy.
Want more tips for winter driving?
Check out these related articles:
- 8 Things Your Car Needs in Winter
- Does My Car Need Snow Tires?
- Why (and How) To Get All the Snow and Ice Off of Your Car
- How Cold Weather Affects Tire Pressure
- Here’s Why It’s Worth Getting Regular Car Washes in the Winter
To customize an auto policy that’s right for you, contact your local Erie Insurance agent. We’ll provide practical help, reliable solutions and service that exceeds your expectations.
Posted on 7 January 2019 | 9:00 pm
Move over, binge watching. This time of year, it’s all about those don’t-miss live broadcasts on TV.
Football fans have the big game. Culture vultures have their pick of awards shows honoring the best in music, movies and TV. Whether or not your favorites win at any event, you can still score big in one arena: hosting a great party. (After all… everyone cheers for snacks.)
Checklist: How to Host a Viewing Party
Get set for guests. Inside, rearrange furniture to avoid clutter and create a clear path to the bathroom and snack table. If you move your TV, make sure it doesn’t stretch the cord too far, which could be a tripping hazard. Outside, shovel and salt your walkway and sidewalk to avoid slips and falls. (Read our full list of snow shoveling hacks.)
Let your neighbors know. If you live in a condo or apartment building – or if parking is tight on your street – give your neighbors and your landlord a heads up that you’re expecting an influx of people and noise. (See what else made our list of 5 surefire ways to make your landlord love you.)
Test your tech. If you’re live streaming any big events this year, be sure your router is secure to avoid the risk of getting hacked. Set a secure password for your WiFi that’s not easy to guess, and make sure your network is private. Read more cyber safety tips for smart homes and connected appliances.
Prep your kitchen. When you're getting ready to serve your favorite game-day food, check your slow cooker for wear and tear and make sure your all appliances are in good working order.
Know your host liquor liability. Pace yourself if your game plan includes serving adult beverages. Most states hold party hosts responsible for what guests end up doing behind the wheel. Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages, and don’t hesitate to call for a DD if someone isn’t capable of driving home. Get more tips on safely hosting a party with alcohol.
- Check in with your insurance agent. A good surprise is when your team scores a fourth-quarter touchdown. A bad surprise is thinking your homeowners insurance covers something that it actually doesn’t. Erie Insurance agents are trained professionals who can help you understand the ins and outs of your insurance policy and help you get the right coverage for your needs and budget.
This story was originally published in 2017. It was updated with new information on Jan. 3, 2019.
Posted on 2 January 2019 | 9:00 pm
As the year winds down, people will be making New Year’s resolutions—and lots of them. This year, many Americans will make a New Year’s resolution to get fit, stop smoking, learn French, stress less and onward and so on.
Anyone who has witnessed a crowded January gym slow to a trickle by February knows that many resolutions just don’t stick. Some studies have reported that as few as 8 percent of people actually succeed in keeping their resolution.
So, how can you be among the few who see their promise through? Here are a few ideas to make it go right.
Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution
Make a mini resolution. Who says you have to run a marathon or model your home after Martha Stewart’s? There’s nothing wrong with making less ambitious, but more achievable, goals like running a 5K or organizing your most out-of-control closet.
- Be specific. Lots of people fail because they make resolutions that are too general or too difficult to measure. Examples include “get healthy” or “spend more time with my spouse.” Instead, vow to “Walk an extra 20 minutes every day” or “Schedule a weekly date night with my spouse.”
Plan, plan, plan. Maybe you have a big goal like “start a business.” If so, you’ll have more success if you plot out the many steps it takes to make it a reality. Buy a goal-setting journal or download an app to break down your plan by month, week and day. (And if you do want to start that business this year, learn more about business insurance – it’s essential for protecting your investment of time and money.)
Related: A Simple Guide to Business Insurance for Startups and New Businesses
Take it public. Some people feel that they’re more likely to keep a New Year’s resolution when they tell others. Still, others prefer to keep it private – and that’s OK! If you’ve been keeping your resolution to yourself the past few years but haven’t seen results… consider giving this strategy a try.
Find a buddy. A friend who shares your New Year’s resolutions can provide a massive dose of motivation.
More Advice for the New Year
Want to take a different approach? Then you might consider some unconventional methods to your resolution.
Consider a disincentive. On Stickk.com, you can have your credit card charged each time you fall short of your goal. You can direct the money to go anywhere — but you might consider sending it to an organization you detest. (Two ideas include a political party you’d never support or a university that’s the arch rival of the one you attended.)
- Make a resolution to enjoy and protect what you already have. Perhaps you recently invested in something big, like a new home or a renovation project. If so, take the time to enjoy what you already have before thinking ahead to the next thing you need or want.
That’s where it helps to have the right insurance. After all, insurance is designed to protect the things you’ve worked hard to achieve and that matter most to you.
At Erie Insurance, we have a genuine enthusiasm for our customer’s successes. Whether you’re renovating your home, starting a family or changing direction in life, we’re eager to offer our encouragement and expertise.
See what makes our home insurance different or find a local ERIE agent in your neighborhood who can give you a customized quote.
This story was originally published in 2013. It was updated with new information on Dec. 27, 2018.
Posted on 26 December 2018 | 9:00 pm