Winter officially begins on December 21, but many people across the country have already felt its wrath. Wintry weather means more dangerous conditions for driving, bicycling and even walking. Unfortunately, emergency room visits—related to snow and ice accidents—spike during December and January. Take extra precaution before venturing into the risky weather conditions. Here are tips to be safe this winter for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists:
Pedestrians—Dress for the weather: gloves, scarves, heavy-duty socks and boots, coat and hat. Walk slowly and carefully. Be aware of ice on sidewalks and give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go. Because of the sun rays reflecting on snow, protect any visible skin with sunscreen and protect your eyes with sunglasses. Avoid walking at night, if possible.
Cyclists—Avoid cycling directly on snow or ice; wait for clearing or melting. Check your gears and brakes for ice and dirt before traveling outside. Always watch for black ice, a thin and clear sheet of ice that is especially dangerous because it looks like dry pavement.
Motorists—Only drive if necessary. Slow down and keep a safe distance in relation to other motorists. Keep your gas tank full, and scrape all the snow and ice from your vehicle’s hood, roof, windows and lights before driving. Lastly, always be aware of black ice and other hazardous road conditions.