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Cold Weather Injuries and Gear

• Dress warmly and stay dry to avoid frostbite and hypothermia.

• Frostbite Signs and Treatment:

– Skin becomes pale, hard and numb.

– Fingers, hands, toes, feet, ears, and nose are usually affected.

– If frostbite occurs:

* Move to a warm dry area and remove any clothing that fits tight and will limit blood flow.

* Do not rub skin because it can cause tissue damage, instead, slowly soak affected area in warm water. Pouring warm water on affected area, warming it up too fast will cause tissue damage, slowly soaking for 25-40 minutes is important.

* After area has become warm it may blister and be puffy. Wrap area to keep warm and seek medical attention. Do not expose area to cold again because it can cause more damage.

• Hypothermia Signs and Treatment:

– Fatigue or drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, cool blue skin, slurred speech,  clumsy, and irritable, confused, or irrational.

– If hypothermia occurs:

* Call 911 for medical assistance.

* Move person to dry place and replace wet clothes with dry warm clothes and cover them with a blanket.

* Have the person drink warm, sweet drinks like sports drinks or sugar water.  Do not give them caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

* Try to get the person to move arms and legs to produce muscle heat. You can  place warm water bottles or hot packs in their armpit, neck, groin, and head area if they are unable to move.

* Do not rub them or put them in a hot bath because it can stop their heart.


Winter Driving Safety

Driving safely in winter weather can be a challenge for even the most experienced driver. It’s easy to forget after months of mild conditions that snow and ice demand careful driving and special preparation for your vehicle. But when 17 percent of all vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions it’s clear that we could all use a refresher when it comes to making our way through a winter wonderland.*

Ready Your Vehicle

Driving safely begins before you even get on the road. Regular tune-ups and maintenance are the starting point for safe driving year-round. In winter, pay special attention to your vehicle’s battery, wipers, coolant, tires and other systems that can take a beating when the temperature drops. If you’re using snow tires, have them installed before the snow begins to fall. When you know your vehicle is ready for the road, clear your car of snow, ice or dirt from the windows, forward sensors, headlights, tail lights and backup camera.

Ready Yourself

Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered road. Increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you. Also remember that every vehicle handles differently; this is particularly true when driving on wet, icy, or snowy roads. Take the time to learn how it handles under winter weather driving conditions. Before heading out, know the weather and traffic conditions, and plan your route accordingly. Give yourself more time to get where you’re going because you’ll be driving more slowly in inclement weather.

Ready for an Emergency

Even if you and your vehicle are prepared, crashes happen. Vehicles break down. Any of us can get caught out in the elements and help might not be just around the corner. Make sure your vehicle is stocked to help get you out of trouble or to keep you safe until help arrives. Keep blankets, flashlights, jumper cables, and flares or emergency lights in your vehicle. Even if you don’t need them, they can be used to help someone else in need on the road.

Safe Driving: Rain, Sleet, Snow or Otherwise

Winter driving demands special care; safe driving is a year-round habit. You and everyone in your vehicle should be wearing seat belts for every ride. Children should be in age- and size-appropriate child seats. Never drive after drinking. Never drive when distracted by an electronic device or anything else. Those are the essentials for safe driving, whatever the weather.

More Winter Driving Tips

There’s a lot that goes into preparing yourself and your vehicle for winter, so check out NHTSA’s Winter Driving Tips to ensure safe travels. 

    SNOW SHOVELING SAFETY: What you need to know