Winter Weather Safety Tips - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Winter Weather Safety Tips


by the experts at Sacred Heart and St. Joseph's Hospitals

Winter in Wisconsin can be hazardous to your health! Here are some winter weather tips to help you stay safe and healthy during the coming months.

Walking on snow and ice

  • Wear boots or sturdy shoes with non-skid soles. Don't try walking on ice in shoes that have no traction.
  • Take your time. Getting in a hurry increases your chances of a fall because you're not paying attention.
    • Pay attention to ice that can be covered with snow. When you think you're in the clear, you could still hit a patch and fall.
    • Balance yourself with your arms. Take your hands out of your pockets and distribute the weight of packages evenly to give you better balance.
    • Take short shuffling steps and avoid an erect posture. Walk as flat-footed as possible.
    • Get help from someone who is wearing appropriate shoes or is more confident than you. Never be ashamed to ask for someone's arm to help you across a patch of ice.

Outside Safety Tips

  • When going outside, be sure to dress in layers of loose-fitting clothes that are lightweight. This will help keep you warm while pulling the moisture away from your body. Wear a hat to keep your body heat in, and wear a scarf over your mouth to prevent cold air from entering your lungs. Mittens are warmer than gloves, making them a better choice for hand protection, and all areas of your body should be covered to guard against frostbite.

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

  • Shoveling snow is inevitable if you do not own a snow blower, but it's hard work and you should be in good health before attempting it. Be sure to pace yourself and rest frequently to avoid over-exertion. When lifting, do so with your leg muscles rather than your back to prevent an avoidable back injury.

Driving Safety Tips

  • During the winter months, keep your gas tank full to prevent ice from building up in the tank and fuel lines. Inspect your windshield wipers, replacing them if they are worn, and check your wiper fluid, keeping it full at all times. Place extra weight in your trunk, especially if your vehicle is rear-wheel drive, to help prevent sliding on slippery roads. Pack a winter storm survival kit in case you become stranded. This kit should include extra blankets, warm clothes, a flashlight with batteries, non-perishable foods, booster cables and a first-aid kit.

 Before You Leave

  • Make sure you have a cell phone or CB radio with you in case you need to call for help. Tell someone where you are going, how you are getting there, and the approximate time of your arrival. While driving, leave additional space between you and the car ahead of you, and use extra precaution on ramps and bridges which freeze before the roads and can be an unseen hazard. If you become stranded, do not walk for help. Instead, place a cloth on your window or antenna to signal your need for assistance. While waiting, turn your engine and heater on periodically to warm up, but crack your window a bit to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Finally, watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.

 Frostbite and Hypothermia

  • If frostbite begins to set in, warm the area by wrapping it or placing it next to warm skin. Never rub the affected area.
  • Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition which affects the way the body functions due to a drop in body temperature. Signs include numbness, confusion, impaired vision, dizziness, fatigue, stiff muscles and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately and move to a warmer place.
Powered by Frankly