LYNCHBURG, Va (WFXR) — Experts tell WFXR the key to taking on winter storms is planning ahead. They say to use extra caution when driving and recommend winterizing your home to the best of your abilities.

Len Stevens with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) says driving conditions can shift from safe to hazardous extremely fast.

“With the weather forecast the way it’s going, just a drop of a degree or two in certain areas could mean the difference in rain and ice,” said Stevens.

Stevens says VDOT crews will be patrolling the roads to locate any potential driving hazards.

“Once they get the indication that there are some slick spots out there, that’s when they’re going to take those mixed abrasives out, move them out in the trucks, lay them down, and try to fight that,” Stevens said.

VDOT encourages people to stay off the roads entirely if they can during a winter storm. If you do have to drive, they recommend taking extra precautions.

“Lower your speed, keep an extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, and then just be very aware that road conditions can change pretty dramatically,” said Stevens.

As for protecting your home during the storm, local hardware store manager Paul Overstreet says that window and door maintenance is key for keeping the heat inside and the storm outside.

“Worry about your weather seals on all your windows, doors, any gaps, and cracks you wanna make sure you can seal that up with weather seal tape,” said Overstreet.

In addition, Overstreet says they have seen a recent increase in the sale of winter essentials.

“Purchases of ice melt, shovels, regular winter gloves, that sort of thing–hand warmers, of course, everything like that,” said Overstreet.

All of these items can be purchased at most local hardware stores to ensure you and your family can safely take on the winter months. However, if you are unable to get to a store, Overstreet says even just putting a towel at the base of your doors to cover the cracks can help keep your home warm and damage-free.