Tips for Staying Safe This Winter
As termination dust creeps down the mountains, the sun dips lower on the horizon, and the air is taking on a chill. With these signals that winter is approaching, it’s important to consider the safety precautions you take in your daily life and recreational activities.
Dress for the elements
- Wearing multiple loose-fitting layers allows you to retain more heat by holding warm air close to you.
- Fabrics like wool, silk, and polypropylene will hold more heat and won’t absorb moisture like cotton will.
- Wear hats, scarves, and other face or head coverings, especially in cases of extreme cold or an extended time outside.
- Waterproof gloves with built-in or removable liners keep your hands dry and reduce heat loss when touching cold surfaces outdoors.
- Outer layers should be water and wind resistant to keep you dry.
- Slow down and leave stopping room between you and the cars in front of you. Road conditions change rapidly, and driving cautiously will allow you to react to those changes safely.
- Always drive with your headlights on; this improves your visibility to other drivers.
- For extended drives, ensure you have emergency supplies suitable for winter in your vehicle. This includes emergency blankets, food, and items like flares and flashlights in the event you are stranded.
- Know your route, and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Check road conditions at 511.alaska.gov.
- When operating snowmachines and ATVs, always ride carefully and wear a helmet. The majority of injuries sustained in accidents occur when the driver or passenger is not wearing a helmet.
- Check ice conditions when recreating on or near lakes or rivers.
- Check for avalanche conditions when hiking, skiing, and snowboarding, especially following a new storm or high winds overload slopes.
“Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect your head and reduce your risk of traumatic brain injury—an injury that affects how the brain works,” Health Resource Service Administration Coordinator Callie Bray said.
Take the edge off winter by planning and preparing for potential risks and taking steps to avoid unknown factors that could endanger you or others. If it feels unsafe to travel or recreate in the current conditions, make those concerns known, and delay your plans if necessary. Stay safe this winter, and enjoy our beautiful state!
For more information about ATV safety, view the Southcentral Foundation ATV Safety Initiative Helmet Guide: bit.ly/3A5Hb5I and Safety Tips Handout: bit.ly/3dHVTs4