Getting around town in the winter cold

If you have not already, maybe you are planning to or else wish you would have, gone on a winter vacation. Traveling to Mexico, the southern USA, or further can break up the winter. We all want to escape the cold winter of the Prairies.

While winter on the Prairies is cold, snowy and often dreary, we still need to get around. Whether it is a simple task of out for groceries or the children’s activities, we often need to start the vehicle, brush off the snow and trudge out into the cold. Getting around during winter month’s as it challenges but a collision might be avoided following a few simple tips.

•   See and be seen! Make sure you keep your windows free of ice and snow. With automatic headlights, turn your lights on manually so that your tail lights illuminate, and you can be seen.
•   Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Road conditions can be slippery, or snow covered. A little extra time means you will reduce your speed and remain in control of the vehicle.
•   With reduced daylight in the morning hours watch for pedestrians especially children who might walk to school.
•   Lots of snow often creates snow ridges at intersections. Pedestrians don’t assume you will be seen and don’t assume vehicles will stop safely. Take your time when crossing. Walking is safer than running. If there is a snow ridge and you can not see on coming traffic, then they also might not see you. Look before you cross. Motorists please slow down especially near crosswalks and intersections.
•   Check highway conditions, check media reports for weather and plan your “road” trips accordingly. While weather can change in an instant, if its bad maybe staying home is a better choice. If the roads are bad and you are involved in a collision paramedic also must brave those road conditions to get to your emergency.
•   Frostbite to face, fingers or toes can often be prevented by simply dressing for the weather. Toques, mittens, scarves and good winter boots are essential to managing in a Saskatchewan winter. On a minus forty day exposed skin can freeze in minutes leading to ugly red spots on exposed skin.
•   Many people embrace winter by skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or simply going for a walk. What ever your outdoor activity remember to wear the gear; stay on the trails; have a buddy; let others know where you are going and when you will be back; be prepared for an emergency with items such as those to possibly build a fire.
•   It is never too late to pack winter gear into your vehicle. Safely stowed, a blanket, shovel, safety kit or first aid kit, can be an essential and important set of tools.
•   If you become stranded car breaks down for example, stay with your vehicle. You have shelter and while there might be a residence close by walking across unknown terrain might cause injury to you.

There is always an opportunity to simply go to the movies or stay home with pets watch TV and read a good book. No matter where your winter travels take you be safe, have fun and enjoy! February is Heart Month. Parkland Ambulance Care is encouraging everyone to learn CPR and know where an AED is. For more information call us for details!