Much of the country's been in a deep freeze for the last few weeks. And that can put your electronic devices in jeopardy since, odds are, you don't leave home without your mini-computers, such as iPods and smartphones. What can you do to keep them out of harm's way?
CBS' "Early Show" Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen offered some advice today.
Cold temperatures can run down batteries. If you're traveling, make sure you bring a car charger in case you get stranded. AAA says 1.4 million drivers will be stranded between Christmas and New Year's. Also consider carrying a spare battery with you.
Phone screens can actually become brittle in cold temperatures and shatter, so:
Avoid leaving your phone in an outside pocket or backpack, or in the car overnight. The best place to carry your phone is an inside pocket where it will be nice and warm.
You can't dial or use the touch screen with regular gloves, so consider getting special gloves for your smartphone. There are several special ones for this purpose on the market.
When it comes to iPods, their batteries work best at room temperature; Apple says they're made to function well between 32 and 95 degrees. If you leave your iPod in the cold, Apple recommends you let it warm up before you wake it up.
As for e-readers like the Nook, avoid extreme cold. You don't want to leave it outside in the car in extremely cold temperatures. If it's been outside in the cold, let it warm up before turning it on, to prevent condensation. And never use it outside in precipitation or with wet hands or fingers.
Even devices that are inside need to be protected from the cold.
Use surge protectors. Power outages from storms are common in winter, so you need to protect your electronics from power surges when electricity is restored. You don't want to ruin that new plasma TV you got for the holidays.