Tips for Staying Safe in the Snow

Mother Nature dropped a fierce winter storm on Calgary and surrounding areas this week, and the cold snap and snowy weather is forecasted to continue. With blustery and icy conditions here, it’s important to keep yourself and your family safe, so here’s some tips for staying safe in the snow.

Driving in the Snow:

  • Make sure your tires are fully inflated, extremely cold weather causes air molecules to contract, which will affect your tire pressure.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times, since you will be driving slower and could be idling more during times when you are warming up, you never want to be stuck in a cold snap without gas on the side of the road.
  • Drive slowly, and decelerate and accelerate slowly as well.
  • Understand your brakes for the current condition, when you start off on your trip, test your brakes to see how fast or slow you need to brake in order to avoid slipping or a collision.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. A lot of collisions happen on icy roads at red lights or when people are trying to avoid collisions or obstacles, and slowing down instead of braking can help you avoid that.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Alternatively, you don’t want to stop on a hill.
  • Stay home if you need to. When temperatures are this cold and road conditions are dangerous, stay home if you don’t need to go out.
  • 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.

Snow removal: 

  • 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.

And consider being a “snow angel” and shovelling a sidewalk or driveway for a neighbour in need. If you think there’s a great snow angel in your community, be sure to nominate them as well. More information on the snow angel program can be found on the City of Calgary website here.