Snow is a given during Minnesota winters. It’s a part of life, and we’re all used to it. In fact, many of us even love it! As accustomed as we all are to living in our winter wonderland, it’s important to remember how to stay safe when the snow starts to pile up.Winter driving safety tips
Driving in the snow is a slippery endeavor, even for the most seasoned Minnesota drivers. If you must drive in the snow, follow these tips from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety:
- Stay at least five car-lengths behind snowplows.
- If you find yourself in a skid, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go.
- Keep a snow safety kit in your vehicle: an ice scraper and brush, shovel, jumper cables, tow chain, sand or cat litter for traction, blankets, hand warmers and a flashlight.
- Should things go wrong and you do get stranded, stay in your vehicle and wait for help.
Safety tips for snow shoveling
Regardless how we feel about it, keeping sidewalks and driveways cleared of snow is essential for safety and mobility. Avoid injury by following these tips from the National Safety Council:
- Stretch before you start, and don’t rush the job. Take your time. If you’re feeling tired, stop and take breaks.
- Push the snow out of the way instead of trying to lift it.
- Know the signs of a heart attack—pressure or pain in the chest or arms; nausea, heartburn or belly pain; shortness of breath; sudden lightheadedness or dizziness—and call 911 immediately if you experience any of them.
- Let someone know when you’re heading out to shovel.
- If you’re unable to safely shovel snow due to age or disability, help is available. Seniors citizens can call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 800-333-2433, and disabled residents can find assistance through the Disability Hub MN: 866-333-2466.
Indoor safety tips
When the snow is falling, the safest (and warmest!) place to be is indoors. Even in your own home, there are some hazards that come with winter weather. Stay safe and cozy with these winter indoor safety tips:
- Layer up. It’s easier (and less expensive) to warm your body than the whole house.
- Since hot air rises, use your ceiling fan to push it down to your level. Turn your fan on low, running in a clockwise direction, to push the warmer air down into the room.
- If using electric space heaters, don’t use an extension cord and only use newer models with tip-over protection.
- Your slow cooker is an energy-efficient way to whip up a warming meal. This Chicken Wild Rice Soup should hit the spot after shoveling snow!
Be sure to share this information with anyone you know who could benefit from a few safety reminders. Stay safe and warm this winter!