Winter weather in Atlanta: How to prepare your family, home and car for hazardous weather

Snowy scenes around metro Atlanta Latest weather forecast from WSB-TV for Wednesday, Jan. 17 Downtown connector, Atlanta Atlanta skyline I-85 in downtown Atlanta Piedmont Park in Atlanta Freedom Parkway, Atlanta Freedom Parkway, Atlanta Marietta Street in downtown Atlanta Norcross Marietta Newnan (via @mattmarkham2 WSB-TV/ #StormWatchOn2) Oconee County (via @bandpboutique WSB-TV/ #StormWatchOn2)

Winter is in full effect in Atlanta.

School districts and businesses have announced closings and the Georgia Department of Transportation is warning drivers to stay off the roads if they can.

Gov. Deal also declared a state of emergency in 83 Georgia counties for Wednesday, Jan. 17. Here’s what you should know to stay safe.

» RELATED: How – and when – to protect your pipes from freezing

How to protect your pipes from freezing.

When temperatures are expected to drop to about 20 degrees, you should leave water dripping or trickling slowly from your faucets. This helps reduce the buildup of pressure inside your pipes. Also, learn where your water shutoff valve is located and be sure to closely monitor all pipes, especially those located in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls and near electrical outlets.

» RELATED: Why you should never use your hazard lights while driving

Don't use your hazard lights while driving.

Johns Creek police warned that using hazard lights may actually signal to other drivers that you are stopped or stalled on the road. Hazard lights can reduce the ability to see if the vehicles ahead are braking and confuse other drivers. Hazard lights also "turn off your ability to use your turn signals.” Instead of using hazard lights while driving, consider not driving at all until road conditions improve, the police department advises.

» RELATED: What to do when your power goes out in winter

What to do when your power goes out in the winter.

The University of Georgia Extension suggests wearing extra clothing and snuggling in bed under extra blankets to trap heat. Find a safe alternative form of heat. Start a fire in the fireplace using logs, or use tightly rolled newspapers and magazines. Stack them to allow air to circulate between them. You can also use a nonelectric space heater, but make sure to use it only in a well-ventilated area.

Check out from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s previous coverage on hazardous weather.

How and when to cover plants during cold weather

Is it safe to eat snow? Here's why you really shouldn't

7 tips to keep your pets safe during cold weather

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