Most of the United States has been hit with extreme cold weather so far this winter, and it looks like it’s not ready to let up yet.  Even in the far south, there’s been the danger of crops freezing.  We southerners aren’t as accustomed to contending with snow and ice as those who live in the north.  Driving on ice is a very dangerous “sport”, especially for persons who aren’t used to it!

Whether you have to get outdoors to go to work, the store, or want to continue some form of exercise regardless of the cold, it is important to take it a little slower than normal and be careful when walking in snow or ice.  There are devices that will help you keep from slipping.  They have a flat sole that attaches to shoes with Velcro, and have metal studs on the bottom, which help grip.  Easy to put on and off, they should not be used once you get inside, because they could make the floor slippery, as well as damaging it.

Here are some ideas from our friends at FEMA:

  • First, if you can, stay indoors as much as possible when weather causes dangerous conditions.
  • Dress warmly, especially paying close attention to feet and hands. Select warm gloves.
  • Wear shoes/boots that provide good traction.  Rubber and neoprene soles are better than those with leather or plastic soles.
  • Use pathways that have been cleared.
  • Put out salt or sand on your sidewalks before you try walking on them.
  • Don’t walk with your hands in your pockets, as you lose the ability to balance with your arms.  This also prevents catching yourself if you slip.
  • Heavy or bulky items can make you lose your balance; carry only necessary items.
  • If possible, use handrails.
  • At your workplace, pay attention to “ice alert” signs, to warn you of icy conditions.
  • While walking on ice, curl toes under and walk slowly.
  • If you must shovel snow, be sure you do not have any underlying health issues, as strenuous activity in extreme conditions can cause heart attack.

As with anything else at work or home, use common sense.  Most of us have to get to our jobs.  Check your local media for weather information and leave home a little earlier if the roads are going to be slick.  Maintenance workers get out very early in the mornings during winter to prepare the roads for traffic in bad conditions.  Drive and walk with care!