Snow safety tips for the home and car

Winter officially hit last week and we’ve got a beautiful blanket of snow to prove it! For the coming months, the chore of snow removal is likely to be a regular one for many.

Each year, snow shovelling leads to thousands of injuries and medical emergencies. Having said that, keep safety a priority this winter while you’re dealing with snow at home and your car.

  • Before you begin, ensure you are properly hydrated, your muscles are warmed up and that you have the right equipment for the job.
  • Try using an ergonomic shovel, they are generally more lightweight and designed so you don’t have to bend your body as much.
  • Try pushing snow instead of lifting it when you are shovelling. If you need to lift snow, bend with your knees. For big snow dumps, be sure to take breaks so you don’t overexert your body.
  • Avoid dumping snow on sidewalks, streets or covering drains; this will only turn a small problem into an even bigger one.
  • Use calcium chloride instead of salt to de-ice, and never use hot water, it will simply freeze and turn into even more ice.
  • It’s a good idea to keep a small shovel and some kind of traction material (sand, gravel, etc.) in your car in case it gets stuck while you’re out.

If you’re curious about how snow removal works from the City of Calgary’s perspective, once snow falls, it employs a seven-day removal plan. Here are the basics:

  • Sand, salt and plow: the City sands, salts and plows roads and sidewalks based on their priority system.
  • Removal and storage: the snow is removed and then stored in select storage sites.
  • Sidewalk snow removal: The City removes snow from public sidewalks along major roadways, overpasses, and bus pads. Residential and commercial area sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owners.

More information on the City of Calgary snow and ice policy can be found online here. A similar policy is used by the City of Airdrie; you can find more information on that online here.


  • Keep your doors locked while warming up your vehicle, as car thefts are up this time of year in our city. Consider a remote starter or have a spare set of keys so you can lock the doors while you warm the car.
  • When driving: take your time and stay at least two car lengths behind the driver in front of you. When roads are snowy and icy, you need extra space to come to a full stop.
  • Winter tires are your friend!
  • Have a set of gloves and a warm blanket in your emergency car kit in case you ever break down.

We hope you stay warm during this cold snap, and stay safe in the snow!