Winter Weather Safety
07 January, 2021
Winter is the longest and most brutal season in Michigan. There is a possibility for snow from October to May with no real predictability in between. Preparing for this season may feel never ending and overwhelming, there are always projects to do! Just a reminder, did you winterize your home this year? But with the right knowledge and tools, winter weather safety can be tackled and handled.
Snow and ice are fun for December but start to lose their charm shortly after New Year’s. In Michigan, you combat black ice which is a dangerous driving terrain. Frozen windshields, that are a pain to defrost on cold winter weather mornings. And ice on every surface as you walk into your cozy home.
Black ice should be handled with care, because this ice type is nearly invisible. Always drive with a steady and slow approach when roads are at higher risk for black ice. These are colder times of the day, after bouts of freezing rain. Check for skid marks in snow to indicate previous drivers difficult handling of an area of road.
Ice on your windshield. The old fashioned scraper of your parents is the go-to method but not necessarily the most pleasant. Have you tried a de-icing solution for your winter weather safety measures? These are sold in stores and have an alcohol component, like methanol, which has a lower freezing point. You can even make a solution yourself, by adding one part isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and two parts water. Spray on and let the ice be gone!
Ice on your stairs. The walk of (potential) pain. Stairs have sharp edges and are definitely to be avoided when icy. To ensure that your steps up your walk are not your last, follow these suggestions.
Salt has been the go-to for generations but there are downsides. It can damage your concrete, kill plants, like your grass seed, and even get into the groundwater which can be dangerous to animals, domestic or wild. Instead, consider using household items such as sand, wood shavings, bird seed, or sawdust. While these materials will not actually melt the ice they provide traction and work as an anti-slip agent. Many of them will also simply wash away as the snow melts or during the next rainfall without causing any harm to the environment or water sources.
In a pinch? Use pickle juice for a fast and safe ice removal.
Beware of winter weather’s bite. Part of winter weather safety is knowing when to come in out of the cold.
Hypothermia is a risk factor for the cold weather temperatures. Be aware of the warning signs when participating in outdoor activities. Confusion, slurred speech, slow heartbeat, breathing and pale skin are all warning signs. Be sure to move the affected person indoors to a warmer climate and call 911. Do not use hot baths or heating pads to warm.
Frostbite occurs when exposed, bare skin, starts to die from the extreme cold temperatures. Depending on how deep the frostbite extends, damage can be permanent. Feeling the “pins and needles” in your extremities is a sign that your skin needs to be warmed. Once blisters start to form, the damage has extended into a lower layer of your skin. The next step is seeking immediate medical attention.
Windburn is a direct effect of the massive winter weather gusts. There are days when wind-chill in Michigan drops the temperature 20 or more degrees. These are days to be most concerned with windburn. Your skin loses a precious layer of essential oils, its barrier against the elements. To protect your skin, faithful Vaseline can do the trick in a pinch. Clothing like scarves or facial masks can also help protect your skin. To treat, use lukewarm water, Ibuprofen, and moisturizer to build your skin’s barrier back.
Remember that Michigan’s winter weather is only as brutal as we let it! You can stay ready with these simple winter weather safety tips. Keep checking back to the Kratos Gas and Michigan.