9 tips for walking and driving in snow and ice

A mix of snow and ice could start as early as noon today. While falling snow may create a picturesque winter scene, when ice coat roads, power lines, caution is needed.

Snow & Ice Management Association, the North American, non-profit trade association representing snow management professionals, offers these 9 tips for surviving an ice storm.

TIP #1: Wear winter shoes. While fashion is great, on ice be careful about high heels or slick soled slip-ons. The right shoes to navigate ice place the entire foot on the ground, has heavy treads, and a flat bottom with good treads for traction.

TIP #2: Anticipate the ice. Watch out for black ice--thin sheets of ice that may appear as wet pavement. Black ice is often the result of ice melting and refreezing in thin layers that are tough to see. And the melting and freezing pattern may repeat day after day--ice appears in the morning as you leave for school or work, melts during the day, and it refreeze at dusk. Be particularly careful in shady spots where sunlight may not melt the ice at all.

TIP #3: Plan ahead. While walking on icy sidewalks or parking lots, walk mindfully. Anticipate where your next step will be. Pay attention when stepping off a curb, using steps, or getting into a car because shifting your weight may make it easier for you to lose your balance resulting in a fall.

TIP #4: Be prepared to weather the storm. Just like the Boy/Girl Scouts, you need to be prepared for whatever weather you run into. Be sure you have an ice scraper and snow brush in your car--not in the trunk, as snow and ice may make difficult to open the trunk. Have a full tank of gas; check the tire pressure, battery, oil. Take snow clothing--boots, gloves, hats, scarves, etc. for all those traveling with you. Carry a safe winter car kit containing items such as kitty litter, rock salt, a shovel, a blanket, flares, water, etc. Be sure your cell phone is charged before leaving home and take a car charger.

TIP #5: Check the most recent weather reports. Before starting on your road trip, check the latest weather report. If it's already started to sleet or snow, listen for your local road conditions before leaving your home. If the roads are hazardous, consider staying home.

TIP #6: Be careful in parking lots. According to an insurance study, parking lots and garages are the #1 area for most falls during a snowstorm. It often takes several days for a parking lot to be cleared entirely. Stay in areas that are clear of most of the snow and ice.

TIP #7: No need for speed. You know to slow down in the rain but this is even truer in snow and ice. The time you need to stop, the possibility of sliding on ice all increase when it starts to snow or when freezing conditions persist.

TIP #8: Stay back. Make sure you remain a good distance away from snow removal equipment. While the strong lights on the snow removal equipment should allow the professional to see you, these lights can be blinding if they are behind you. In addition, some trucks may be spreading salt or other materials designed to melt snow and ice and you don't want those materials on your windshield further blocking your ability to see.

Credit: Bryan Kelsen

Credit: Bryan Kelsen

TIP #9: Get ready, set, shovel. Snow shoveling is exercise. So before you head outdoors, if there is enough snow which requires shoveling, warm up with some stretches. Remember to drink plenty of water and take breaks when you get tired. The most efficient way to shovel snow is to push the snow to the side rather than trying to lift it. By pushing instead of lifting, you exert less energy, thereby placing less stress on your body.