Snowmen. Crackling fireplaces. Cozy nights. Winter can be a wonderful time to be outdoors but it also brings a whole new set of hazards. Ice and snow can create slippery conditions. Whether you’re out for a walk, winter drive or even ice-skating, some sensible precautions can help you avoid injury.
First, slow down!Winter means a new set of road conditions. Many accidents can be avoided by simply driving cautiously and carefully. Even all- and four-wheel drive vehicles can skid on icy roads. Take these steps for safe winter driving:
- Allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.
- Don’t pass snowplows or sand or salt trucks.
- Research road conditions and weather forecasts before leaving the house.
- Give yourself room to brake. Brake slowly and gently.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and sections of road that may freeze first.
Walking on ice
A walk through a snowy landscape can be beautiful and good exercise if done safely. Make sure you:
- Wear the proper footwear.
- Keep your hands free so that they can protect you in case of a fall.
- Don’t carry heavy loads.
- Take small steps and use handrails when available.
If you feel yourself falling, try to land backwards and roll with the fall to minimize injury. Don’t be afraid to drop anything you may be carrying. It’s more important to protect yourself than your packages.
Some skaters make ice skating look effortless but even experienced skaters can slip. Follow these guidelines:
- Wear properly fitted skates with ankle support and sharpened blades.
- Before stepping onto ice, check for cracks, holes or debris.
- Make sure your skating area can hold your weight.
- Wear warm clothing and make sure to take rests as you tire.
- Never skate alone — take a buddy with you!
With a little bit of caution, you can have as much fun in winter as any other season. Follow the tips above, stay safe and don’t forget to reward yourself with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
Sources: NCS.org, Weather.com