Stay safe in the snow


snow2 As the staff of Shopper Outlet Network arrived to work today we had to walk through two feet of snow to get into the office, yes that guy to the left is a real person that works here. After we all got in the office and told the tales of shoveling snow, slipping on the ice, getting stuck in a snow drift and so on we decided it is only proper to write an article about how to stay safe in the snow.  We also know it has been a long time since an article has been written on our site so we feel this one should be important.

When it comes to staying safe in the snow there are few things that you should remember.  First, it is cold outside and your body is not meant to be in the cold unprotected.  Wear layers of clothing to keep you warm, you can always remove a layer if you get too hot.  Get and wear a good pair of gloves and a hat or earmuffs to protect the ears also.  You want to protect as much of your skin from the cold as possible, frostbite can cause you to loose your fingers or toes if it is sever enough.  If you do get frostbite on your fingers or toes don’t rub the skin or run your hands under hot water, instead run them under or soak them in lukewarm water.  If it is bad enough you will need to see a doctor for proper medical care as the pain can be intense and your skin can blister among other things.  Limit your time outside, if you have to shovel the driveway do it in stages so you don’t freeze.

Shoveling snow is no fun, we all know that.  When you are shoveling snow it is important to remember to lift with your legs not with your back.  Everyone has heard this their whole life and for some reason we all decide to ignore this advice and then wonder why are backs hurt so bad.  Its tempting to just scoop up the snow and toss it off to the side, the twisting motion our body is put through by doing this can cause serious injury to your lower back muscles.  The safest way to remove that snow is to scoop it up and turn your feet to move your body to dump the snow wherever you want.  Back injuries can last a lifetime, saving a couple minutes shoveling the snow is not worth the agony of chronic back pain.  The snow shovels that are shaped like a plow can help move a lot of snow pretty quickly.  Just remember that when you are pushing a shovel to keep it at a distance from your body, when you hit a crack in the concrete and the shovel rams into your groin you will understand why you want some distance between you and the handle.  If you have a snow blower all I can say is no fair.

Driving in the snow can be dangerous.  Allow for extra space between you and the other vehicles on the road.  Reduce your speed and watch for other cars that are out of control.  It is ok to drive slow, yeah there are some other drivers out there that may give you a hard time but you wont be the one in a ditch needing pulled out.  If you have 4 wheel drive remember that it doesn’t mean you can stop any better.  If you step on the brakes and lock up the front tires you will loose control of your steering.  Try to gently press on the brakes when you come to a stop to prevent the tires from sliding and getting into a wreck.  Before you go out for a drive put a blanket and some water in the car in case of an emergency.  If you do go off the road and are stuck put on the hazard lights and stay in the vehicle, if you can keep the car running do so to have heat.  If the vehicle is not running grab that blanket and cuddle up with the other people in the car, the body heat will help keep you warm.  If you do get stuck and think you might be able to get out kitty litter can be an amazing thing to have.  Sprinkle some kitty litter in front and behind the drive tires, this will help you get traction and can typically get you out of being stuck.  Another handy tool to have in the vehicle is a small shovel, it can be used if your stuck or if the plow truck at the store decides to box you in with the snow from the parking lot.

If you encounter ice try to shuffle your feet instead of taking normal steps.  This will allow you to have more balance where as walking normally can cause you to slip and fall.  Something new we heard about was to hold something in your dominate hand, if your a lefty hold something in your left hand or if your a righty hold something in your right hand.  Just make sure what your holding is not breakable or dangerous.  The purpose of doing this is that if you do fall you will be less likely to try to break your fall with your dominate hand.  If you try to break your fall with your dominate hand you could break that arm, as one of our employees knows all too well, rendering that hand useless for months while it heals.  Have you tried to make a grocery list when you cant write with your normal hand?  Hold a bag and save yourself the hassle.

We hope that everyone stays safe out there this winter and tries some of our tips out.  Let us know of any ideas that you have that we left out in the comments.