It’s undeniable that snow is magical, especially if you live in an area that doesn’t get very much of it. The sight of waking up to a hushed world blanketed in soft white is almost guaranteed to evoke childlike feelings of wonder in us, no matter how old we are. However, the prospect of actually traveling in snowy weather can be a bit more daunting. Luckily there are certain steps you can take to make your journey safer, whether you are commuting to work, heading to the grocery store, or visiting friends. Here are some key recommendations.
Snowy and icy conditions can greatly increase the risk of getting into an accident when driving, so it’s important to drive more slowly than usual and allow more time for your journey. Your stopping distance is likely to be longer, so it’s a good idea to leave a bigger distance between your vehicle and others than you might normally do. Before setting off, make sure that you clear all the snow from your windshield and windows, as well as your mirrors and lights. This will increase your visibility when driving and also help others to see you. Winter tires or snow chains can give you a better grip on the slippery road and may even be a requirement depending on which country you’re driving in. Finally, be sure to keep emergency supplies such as food, water, a first aid kit, a blanket, and a flashlight in your car just in case you do break down.
When you’re walking on snow or ice, it’s very easy to slip up and injure yourself. As such, you should take every precaution you can to be safe when you head out. Make sure that you wear shoes with a good grip and walk slowly and purposefully with a low center of gravity. Keep your hands free if you can for balance, and try not to text when walking or do anything else that might distract you. Take extra care on stairs, and always hold on to the handrail if there is one. Wherever possible, it’s best to stick to paths that have been cleared or salted – at home, that means shoveling your driveway or making use of devices such as snow blowers to clear away the snow. It’s best to do this early in the morning when the snow is still fresh.
If you need to cycle in the snow, try to stick to paths that have been gritted, and always be cautious of hitting black ice. Go more slowly than usual, and avoid making any sharp turns if you can. It’s easier to ride in snowy conditions with wider, lower-pressure tires – you could even switch to studded tires for maximum grip. Whichever type of bike you’re riding, make sure it has lights so that drivers can spot you in the bad weather. Layering up will help you keep warm – gloves are especially important for cycling in the cold. If nothing else, make sure that you always wear a cycle helmet!