Most days, we head to work without thinking much about it. However, with the unusually chilly weather we’ve been experiencing lately, it is particularly important to make sure we are keeping ourselves safe and warm while traveling to and from work.

If driving in cold weather, give yourself extra time before you leave to properly remove any snow or ice from your car. Use a brush to remove snow and ice from your roof, hood, taillights, license plate, and tailpipe. Make sure you have plenty of gas and windshield washer fluid. If your car is stuck, dig out as much as you can and sprinkle cat litter or sand to increase traction. When on the road, take it slow. Allowing a little extra space between your car and the next can make a huge difference in icy conditions. Finally, if you do skid, don’t panic or slam on the brakes. Take your foot off the gas and steer into the skid until you can regain control.

If you use public transportation, check the schedules! This will minimize wait time in the cold. If you walk or bike to work, consider public transportation or talk to colleagues about carpooling during the winter months.

Did You Know?

  • During winter months, it is especially important to protect your hands, head, and feet from the cold.
  • In colder temperatures, your body naturally generates heat by contracting muscles and shivering.
  • Hypothermia occurs at cold temperatures, but can occur at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The record low for the United States is -80 degrees Fahrenheit, which occurred in Alaska in 1917.

Travel Tips for Winter Driving:

  • Maintain Your Car: Check battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers, keep your windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, and check your antifreeze.
  • Have On Hand: flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cell phone.
  • Stopped or Stalled? Stay with your car, don’t over exert, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.
  • Plan Your Route: Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if necessary), be familiar with the maps/ directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.

Sources: Occupational Health and Safety Administration, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.