5 Tips for Snow and Ice Safety
How to deal with some of the biggest challenges of winter weather
Are you expecting a White Christmas? Is your local weatherman warning it will be a snowier-than-usual winter? Then add this to your seasonal to-do list: Be prepared for snow and ice. When the weather outside is frightful, the last thing you need is to throw out your back while shoveling, or have to get someone who's fallen on your slippery driveway to the ER.
Here are our top tips for dealing with some of the challenges of snowy, icy weather.
Walking on ice. Slips, trips and falls are second only to traffic accidents as the cause of accidental deaths in the United States, according to the Workers Compensation Fund. And snowy, icy surfaces are to blame 80 percent of the time.
If you have to walk on ice, lower your chance of falling by walking like a penguin, advises the University of Wisconsin. Here’s how: Spread your feet wider than usual. This broadens your base, making it harder to lose your footing. As you move, bend your knees slightly, and hold your arms out at your sides for balance. Read more about how to walk on ice without falling.
Staying warm in freezing weather. Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. About 1,300 people in the United States die from hypothermia every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hypothermia happens when your body temperature dips to 95 degrees F or lower.
Warning signs include shivering, fatigue, confusion and drowsiness. If you suspect someone has hypothermia, call 911 for medical help immediately. If his clothes are wet, get him into dry ones as soon as possible. Here are more tips for treating hypothermia and preventing frostbite.
Shoveling snow. Backaches and back injuries are potential hazards of clearing your driveway, says Michael Gleiber, MD, spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Save your own back by using a shovel with a long arm and flat(ish) blade to push the snow out of the way, Gleiber advises. If you have to lift a shovel full of snow, squat or bend at the knees and use your legs to lift the shovel. Read more of Gleiber’s tips for shoveling snow without ending up in the ER.
Giving walkways the non-slip. After you shovel, sprinkle salt or an environmentally friendly ice melt on your driveway, walkway and stairs to further reduce the chance of someone falling.
Clearing snow from your roof. Don’t climb a ladder to get to your roof, and don’t use a roof rake as that can damage your shingles. Bottom line: Call a professional. Here are more do’s and don’ts of clearing snow from a roof.
Related: 7 Tips for Safer Sledding