Although snowy landscapes can be pretty this time of year, winter time also brings slippery streets, weather-related car accidents and other dangerous situations. Stay safe this winter and follow these safety tips:
1. Maintain your vehicle and tires. Whether it’s getting snow tires put on, performing regular tire checks or simply taking your car in for routine maintenance, it’s important to ensure your vehicle is safe, especially during the winter when driving conditions are less than ideal. Make sure you have enough gas each time you hit the highway – you never know what traffic you might hit – and always check your windshield wiper fluid.
2. Prepare a winter safety kit to put in your car. Winter safety kits can be purchased at your local retail store, but you can also make your own. Ensure you have extra windshield wiper fluid, a space blanket, an ice scraper, small shovel, sand for tire traction, high-calorie, non-perishable food, jumper cables, tow ropes and road maps.
3. Avoid driving during inclement weather. Snowstorms are inevitable in New England this time of year. Although they can be inconvenient, it’s important you pay attention to weather forecasts and avoid driving during snowstorms when the roads can be especially hazardous.
4. Sand and salt your driveway, stairs and sidewalk even days after the storm has gone. Stairs, sidewalks and driveways are often places for black ice and it’s easy to slip and fall just walking to your car. Make sure to salt and sand even if the storm has passed – melting snow can often freeze, making it dangerous for you to even get to the car before work.
5. Avoid falls and wear sensible shoes – like boots with non-slip soles – to avoid slipping and sliding when walking or commuting to and from work. Streets and sidewalks are slippery this time of year, so it’s best to bring an extra pair of shoes for indoors and wear sensible shoes when outdoors to avoid falls.
6. Always wear a helmet and proper safety equipment when participating in winter sports, such as sledding, hockey, snowmobiling, skiing and snowboarding. Forty-four percent of skiing/snowboarding head injuries could be prevented by a helmet. The helmet should fit properly – a size chart can help you find one that fits best.
7. Only ice skate on areas that are properly marked for ice skating.
8. Children who are ice skating, sledding, skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling should be accompanied by an adult at all times.
9. Never sled, snowmobile or ice skate after dark. If you’re going snowboarding or skiing, ensure that the hill or mountain you’re on has proper lighting.
10. Prevent hypothermia and dress appropriately when going outdoors. Children should be bundled up in coats, hats, long johns, pants, warm shirts like turtlenecks, sweatshirts, warm socks, gloves or mittens. Layering is key during the winter.