Every winter, there is some kind of snow story that make the top headlines. Some trapped in the snow and ice on blocked freeways or lonely deserted roads fare better than others. An 80-year-old Hamilton woman has died while shoveling snow in February of 2013. She’s not alone, there are millions of others who met the same faith.
Preparing yourself and your vehicle for snow storms, drifts and no-visibility blizzards might take a little work but can save hours of misery.
1. Winter Tires
Snow safety is impossible or incomprehensible without good winter tires. They must have good tread to have the best traction. That means at least 6/32 inches deep. All-weather tires, even high-performance ones, are no good as they have little grip on snow and ice. Choose winter tires and look for a “snowflake on the mountain” symbol. This is the tire industry symbol for its snow traction standard.
2. Snow Thrower
When you’re enjoying those final days of summer, the last thing anyone wants to think about is snow removal. But if you’re in the market for a new snow thrower or blower, it’s a good idea to consider all of your options before the flurries start flying. A snow thrower may not seem like a complicated purchase, but there are a number of important things to consider before you start shopping.
If you regularly receive less than five inches of snow, then a snow thrower may not be the machine you need. Ergonomic snow shovels or scoops are a much better choice for these low-snowfall areas. If you’re consistently clearing less than 10 inches of snowfall, then a light-duty, electric snow thrower should be able to do the job and are much more efficient. If you have up to 16 inches to clear then you may want to move up to a medium-duty machine. A single-stage, gas-powered model is better equipped to handle those deeper drifts. If your area is prone to getting more than 16 inches or you are getting wet snowfall,heavy-duty snow removal helps.
You also need to keep in mind the surface that you’re going to be clearing, both the size and what it’s made of. If you have a wide driveway or parking area to clear, a machine with a larger clearing path is going to allow you to clear snow with fewer passes and less effort. If you have a small, one car driveway then a smaller one should be enough to help you.
3. Proper Footwear
Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow. These boots may cost you a lot of money, but are well worth every penny. You may not be able to feel your feet, if you fail to wear the proper footwear. Those boots will last you for years and consider spending $200 as a multi-year investment.
4. Minimize Travel
Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle. Those can be found by going to Survival Plus. You can never be too prepared for these things. You should always buy extra supplies just in case you need to share them or you need to help someone else in the same situation.
Stock up your home or your office with a large supply of ice salt to spread on your walkways and driveways when they become icy. The salt helps melt the ice and adds traction, preventing cars from spinning and fish-tailing and preventing people from slipping and falling and breaking their backs. It’s always good to put a couple of salt packs in your trunk as it provides balance for your car when you drive.
6. Clean Chimney:
This is something you have to do before the winter season. Clean the chimney, especially if you plan to use the fireplace. A clean chimney prevents smoke from getting trapped and coming back into your home.
How to tell if your chimney needs cleaning? There isn’t a simple rule on how often to clean your chimney. The problem is, creosote can form when wood is burned incompletely. A smoky fire with not enough oxygen lets out lots of unburned tar vapors that can condense inside the flue and stick to it – leading you to a possible chimney fire. You can reduce creosote buildup by providing enough combustion air, which will, in turn, encourage a hot, clean-burning fire.
7. Proper Winter Clothing:
Winter coats, snow pants, gloves, mittens, hats, scarves, thermal underwear are just some of the important pieces of clothing you need to get you and your family through winter. You may not need each piece every day, but you’ll probably need them all before winter is done this year, especially if you love to go snowboard, snowmobiling, sledding, or skiing.
8. Prescription Drugs/First Aid
You must have an extra supply of prescription drugs and other medicine that you regularly take. You may not be able to access these goods when there is a big snow storm coming your way. An appointment to your family physician may be necessary for this
No car should ever be without a basic first aid kit, including antibiotic cream or ointment, antihistamine, bandages, burn medication, eye wash, pain reliever, scissors, tweezers and other essential items. If a snowy skid leads to an accident, the first aid kit may be especially handy.
9. Flashlights & Batteries
No doubt that when you sit down and make a list of winter survival supplies to stock up on – a flashlight is one of the first things you need to think of.
If you are not familiar with LED technology in flashlights – let me enlighten you. LED flashlights have come along way in the past few years. Today – they are extremely bright, durable, and the batteries last much longer than common flashlights of the same brightness. The bulbs last nearly forever which is a big advantage
10. Blankets & Sleeping Bags:
If you plan to drive in uninhabited areas, this is a must. Although day trippers may not anticipate sleeping overnight in a vehicle, a sudden blizzard may leave drivers and passengers snowbound for hours. Warm blankets or sleeping bags prove useful, when stranded travelers must wait for rescue.
You may need to stay in the car for long periods of time and you cannot risk getting hypothermia or pneumonia. Always keep these things in the car, just in case you get stuck or cannot get assistance right away.