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Beware the hazards of snow and ice

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 10:51 a.m. CDT

The Snow and Ice Management Association, the national nonprofit organization representing the snow removal industry, has tips for safe travel during a snow or ice event.

• Check weather reports before venturing out. If it has started to sleet or snow, listen to the news to hear about local road conditions before leaving home. If the roads are hazardous, consider staying home.

• Snow removal may not begin immediately. Severe storms or blizzards often limit or slow snow removal efforts. Be prepared to trudge through an unplowed parking lot or street with the proper footwear such as all-weather or snow boots with good traction and by layering winter clothing.

• Understand the hazards of walking on snow or ice. Snow often falls faster than the snow removal professionals can take it away. Therefore, walkways and parking lots may not be free of snow and ice. Keep vigilant when walking during or after a snow event. Be especially careful when transferring your weight from the sidewalk to the curb, particularly when carrying packages or small children. Extra weight in your arms can alter your center of gravity and affect your balance.

• Carefully enter and exit parking lots. Piles of parking lot snow often create smaller parking spaces and barriers that are difficult to see around. Watch for pedestrians and snow removal equipment when you are driving in a parking lot. When walking in a parking lot, watch for vehicles that may be out of control or drivers who don’t see you.

• Avoid getting behind snow removal equipment, especially if the truck is spreading salt or other materials designed to melt snow and ice.

• Parking decks can be hazardous because snow and ice can blow in through the sides and accumulate. And although the snow and ice has been removed, you still need to watch for melted snow that refreezes to create ice. This may occur near roof overhangs, building drains and in parking lot drainage areas.

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