If given a chance, I wouldn’t even bother stepping outside the home during the coldest winter weeks. But there is work to be done, bills to pay off and food to stock up on. Bring out those shovels; the pile of snow in your driveway isn’t getting any smaller.
For those of us who have no choice but to gear up and muddle through feet of snow, we only have two options: get your car defrosted and wheels all chained up, or commute. Whether you plan on manoeuvring by private vehicle, bus, or on foot, make sure you take the necessary precautions to reach your destinations safely and dry.
Here are some hacks and things you need (aside from patience) to cut those frosty mornings short:
Winter Walking Warriors
Commuting and walking are probably the most convenient options when it comes to getting from point A to point B during winter. Say goodbye to getting up an hour early; forget about shoveling a wide path clear and dealing with a frozen, broken down car.
Look on the bright side, there are snow angels and snowmen waiting to be resurrected. Walking in winter is quite beneficial for us since it’s one way for us to get our much-needed dose of Vitamin D and exercise.
Take advantage of your proximity to a bus stop or the workplace itself. Travelling on foot means you’re directly exposed to the cold (at least for awhile), so it doesn’t mean you can take it easy on the precautions.
- Double up on your layers such as socks and inner/outerwear. Gear made out of waterproof and insulated material is a must if you want to arrive at your destination still dry and frostbite-free.
- Keep in mind that it gets dark out earlier during winter, so having any type of reflective item on you will make you noticeable among drivers and on the sidewalk. As long as you can be seen, you’ll be safe.
- Always bring extra – extra socks, a hat, scarf, gloves and earmuffs for sudden temperature drops. Extra insulation is never a bad idea.
- Stay updated by signing up email or text notifications and alerts from your local weather stations. Look out for announcements about changes in routes, trip cancellations and delays. Having shared riding apps like Uber and Lyft are also a good backup in case public transportation fails.
- Keep the three Ws in mind: windproof, warm and waterproof.
- Extend your patience – public transportation drivers are concerned about the safety of everyone. What’s important is that you get there in one piece, even if it means being late.
Chillin’ in the Car
It’s already a given that you have to allow an extra hour or two to your normal routine during snowy days. Aside from clearing snow off your driveway and prepping your car, you also have to set a grace period for upcoming traffic conditions. You never know what you’ll encounter on the other side of that snow mound.
- Unless you want your glass to crack from the abrupt change in temperature, avoid taking the simple way out by pouring hot water on your windshield to “instantly” defrost the ice.
- Have an old blanket you no longer use? Find a way to secure it to your windshield overnight to save yourself the trouble of scraping ice particles from your car the next morning. If it kept you warm, it will do the same for your car too.
- Drive slower than usual and use main roads as much as possible rather than taking shortcuts. Snow ploughs usually clear snow blocked main highways first. There are lesser chances of finding help if you get stuck in less-traveled routes.
- Clear the roof of your vehicle to keep snow chunks from sliding down and obscuring your view while driving.
- Keep a supply of food, water and warm layers in case the car gets snowed in and you’re stuck inside. Don’t forget emergency essentials such as a first aid kit, extra shovel and jumper cables.
Safe Winter Roads has reported that about 100,000 Americans suffer from vehicle and road accidents during winter yearly, while 1,300 are killed. Stay even safer this season by renewing your car insurance should anything unfortunate, like crashes, collisions and truck accidents happen.
Remember, weather forecasts are our best friends all year round, especially during wintry weather.
Happy holidays and stay safe, everyone!