Cold Weather Safety Tips | The Town of Okotoks

Cold Weather Safety Tips

It's important to be prepared for the cold and icy conditions of the winter months. Here are a number of tips to remember to keep your whole family safe and warm. 

Stay safe on the road

Winter driving can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when conditions are snowy or icy. If road conditions are dangerous, consider making alternate travel arrangements or postponing your trip until conditions improve.

Follow these S.A.F.E.R. steps to keep yourself safe & collision free during the next few blustery winter months!

S.A.F.E.R. System of defensive driving:

SPACE

  • Following distance
  • Driving with the intention of space
  • Leave space for adverse conditions
  • Be cautious and pay attention at intersections

ATTITUDE

  • Attitude and patience

FORESIGHT

  • Situational awareness

EYESIGHT

  • Visual scanning patterns
  • Horizon method

RESPONSIBILITY

  • Getting home safe

Winter Driving Tips from the Canada Safety Council 

Step 1: Make sure that your vehicle is prepared for winter driving.

  • Winter tires are a good option, as they will provide greater traction under snowy or icy conditions.
  • Keep a snow brush/scraper in your car, along with possible emergency items such as a lightweight shovel, battery jumper cables, and a flashlight.
  • Make sure that mirrors, all windows, and the top of your vehicle, are free of snow or frost before getting onto the road.

Step 2: Drive smoothly and slowly

  • Don’t make any abrupt turns or stops when driving. Doing so will often cause your vehicle to lose control and skid.
  • Driving too quickly is the main cause of winter collisions. Be sure to drive slowly and carefully on snow and ice covered roads.

Step 3: Don’t tailgate.

  • Tailgating becomes much worse in winter weather. Stopping takes much longer on snowy and icy roads than on dry pavement, so be sure to leave enough room between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

Step 4: Brake before making turns.

  • Brake slowly to reduce speed before entering turns. Once you have rounded the corner you can accelerate again.

Step 5: Learn how to control skids.

  • When skidding, you actually need to go against your natural instincts and turn into the skid and accelerate. Doing so transfers your vehicle’s weight from the front to the rear and often helps vehicles to regain control.

Step 6: Lights On.

  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.

Step 7: No Cruise Control.

  • Never use cruise control if conditions are snowy, icy, or wet, because if your car hydroplanes, your car will try to accelerate and you may lose control of your vehicle.

Step 8: Don’t “pump” the brakes.

  • If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), do not “pump” the brakes. Apply constant pressure and let the system do its work.

Step 9: Pay attention.

  • Manoeuvres are more difficult to make in the snow. Be sure to anticipate what your next move is going to be to give yourself lots of room for turns and stopping.

Sources: Fleet Safety International http://www.fleetsafetyinternational.com/winter-driving.html ; Canada Safety Council  https://canadasafetycouncil.org/traffic-safety/winter-driving-tips

Candle Safety

Power outages are a possibility during the winter months and candles are one alternative for lighting.  If you choose to use candles, remember to follow these safety precautions:

  • Always keep a burning candle within sight. Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep. Be sure the wick ember is no longer glowing.
  • Keep burning candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Trim candlewicks to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning and dripping.
  • Always use a candle-holder specifically designed for candle use. The holder should be heat resistant, sturdy, and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.
  • Be sure the candle-holder is placed on a stable, heat-resistant surface away from anything that can catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc.
  • Keep the wax pool free of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s use and safety instructions carefully. Don’t burn a candle longer than the manufacturer recommends.
  • Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents, ceiling fans and air currents. This will help prevent rapid, uneven burning, and avoid flame flare-ups and sooting. Drafts can also blow nearby lightweight items into the flame where they could catch fire.
  • Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room. Don’t burn too many candles in a small room or in a “tight” home where air exchange is limited.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down. Extinguish the flame if it comes too close to the holder or container. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains or ½ inch if in a container.
  • Never touch or move a burning candle or container candle when the wax is liquid.
  • Never use a knife or sharp object to remove wax drippings from a glass holder. It might scratch, weaken, or cause the glass to break upon subsequent use.
  • Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another. This helps ensure they don’t melt one another, or create their own drafts to cause improper burning.
  • Use a snuffer to extinguish a candle. It’s the safest way to prevent hot wax splatters.
  • Never extinguish candles with water. The water can cause the hot wax to splatter and might cause a glass container to break.
  • Be very careful if using candles during a power outage. Flashlights and other battery-powered lights are safer sources of light during a power failure.
  • Extinguish a candle if it repeatedly smokes, flickers, or the flame becomes too high.  The candle isn’t burning properly. Cool, trim the wick, then check for drafts before relighting.
  • Never use a candle as a night light.
Keeping your pets safe in the cold

Don’t let that fur coat fool you. Pets can suffer from the cold as severely as their humans. Follow these tips to keep your pet warm and safe throughout the winter chill:

  • Never leave your cat or dog alone in a cold car.   Vehicles actually trap the cold, much like a refrigerator, which can cause your pet to freeze to death.
  • Keep your pets warm.  If it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for your pet. Although some breeds can withstand colder temperatures, it is important to supply adequate housing. 
  •  Keep animals away from winter puddles.   They may contain ethylene glycol found in antifreeze, which can be fatal if ingested.
  • Keep your pets away from bodies of water.  With melting ice and rising water levels, lakes can be extremely dangerous for you and your pet.
  • Wipe your pet’s paws and underside after being outside.  Salt and ice melt can irritate and burn and also be fatal if ingested. You can also put a little Vaseline on the bottom of their feet to protect them from the salt on the roads.
  • Be aware of cats seeking warmth under vehicle hoods.  Try knocking on the hood of your car to scare them away before starting the engine.
  • Don’t let your dog off leash especially during a snowstorm.  They can easily lose their scent and get lost.
  • Ensure your pet has a warm place to sleep, such as a thick cozy bed or blanket away from any drafts and off the cold floor.
  • Dress for the weather.  Use booties and winter sweaters to help keep your pets warm during outdoor excursions.