As freezing conditions continue to grip the Bay Area, residents are being warned to take precautions on roadways, protect their pets and insulate exposed water pipes.

California Highway Patrol Officer Jonathan Sloat recommended motorists to “slow your speed down a little bit and give yourself some extra time and space between vehicles.”

With the possibility of snow at low elevations, black ice may form on the road throughout the day.

Black ice can be especially troublesome during commute hours, Sloat said. He suggested reducing driving speeds by at least five or 10 mph.

Motorists are also encouraged to turn on headlights during rain, fog and any time windshield wipers are operating. Windshield wipers should be in good condition to ensure good visibility.

The Santa Cruz and the San Mateo SPCA is urging pet owners to keep their four-legged friends indoors, especially puppies that are vulnerable to cold temperatures.

However, Peninsula Humane Society spokesman Scott Delucchi cautioned pet owners to make sure their pets get exercise, even indoors.

“Don’t forget about exercise just because it’s cold, but you might you have to alter their routine,” he said.

The Santa Cruz SPCA advised residents to ensure their pets have a safe spot to sleep at home, away from drafts and off of the floor. Beds with pillows and blankets will help keep dogs or cats warm.

Residents are encouraged to bang on the hood of their cars before getting in, as it is a place where cats or small wild animals seek warmth during winter and risk getting killed by the fan belt when the engine is started.

The Dublin San Ramon Services District is warning residents to avoid water pipe breaks by insulating all exposed outdoor pipes, including hose bibs, sprinkler systems and swimming pools.

Pipe insulation and black 10-millimeter tape can be found at hardware stores, but residents can alternatively wrap old blankets, towels or newspapers around the pipes.

Other alternatives are aiming a droplight at the exposed portion of the pipes or wrapping pipes with Christmas lights.

Residents can use a hair dryer to thaw pipes, but it should be set on the lowest temperature setting. Another way to thaw pipes is to carefully draw a bucket of hot water from the hot water heater and slowly pour it over the frozen pipe.

For more information about protecting water pipes, residents can call the Dublin San Ramon Services District at (925) 828-0515. Contra Costa County residents should visit

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