Winter weather tips: How to shovel snow, walk on ice, be safe in cold

Some helpful tips and videos on how to deal with wintry weather conditions

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Snow, ice, sub-zero temperatures. The winter months can bring weather that is as beautiful to behold as it is treacherous to navigate.

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Here are some handy tips we’ve compiled over the years, including how to shovel a driveway without injuring yourself, walk safely on ice (tip: channel your inner penguin), drive in snow, and hold your own and your home warm.

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Watch: Snow Shovel Safety Tips

Before you put on your winter wool and grab that snow shovel, watch this video for tips on clearing your driveway safely:

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5 tips to stay upright when walking on ice

1. Walk like a penguin when the path is icy: Point your feet outward and relax your knees. Keep your arms away from your sides for balance, walk slowly and on flat feet, and take short strides.

2. Put kitty litter in your pockets or in a zip lock bag: When faced with icy paths, icy steps, or slippery slopes, sprinkle litter to improve traction. Sand works too. Avoid commercial deicers, which should be handled with gloves.

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3. Ski poles out: They’re a great way to add stability while walking. Check the garage, there’s almost always a set of ski poles. Buy ice axes if you use a stick.

4. Step aside: If your trail looks icy, you may get better traction by walking on snow or grass. If you have to climb accumulated snow to get into the car, hold the door tight.

5. Choose shoes with natural rubber winter treads: Avoid dressy shoes with smooth soles and put away your high-heeled boots, they can be deadly. Wear a long, thick coat to cushion your fall.

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6 tips for safe winter driving

Drivers planning to drive when there is snow should pack an emergency medical kit, which includes a supply of food, water and warm blankets. You should also always have a shovel, ice scraper and broom in the vehicle.

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Here are some more tips for driving in winter:

• Remove snow and ice from car windows, taillights and headlights before driving.

• Walk slowly. Never accelerate in wintry conditions. Give yourself extra time.

• Gradual starts and stops are the way to go when you’re out in the snow. Never step on the brake. Instead, tap the brakes or downshift and gradually come to a stop. This prevents skidding and rear-end collisions.

• Avoid sudden acceleration. Flooring the accelerator will cause the wheels to spin in the snow, which often causes the car to become stuck. Avoiding full stops can help drivers avoid getting stuck in the snow.

• Never attempt to overtake a snowplow unless you are absolutely sure it is safe.

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Watch: Cold Weather Safety: 7 Things You Should Know

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Even with central heating, some rooms can benefit from the use of space heaters. However, precautions should be taken to minimize the risk of fire.

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Use space heaters in an enclosed space in the corner of the room while keeping the doors to the room closed to keep the heat inside, BC Hydro says. Never leave the device unattended or use it within a meter of flammable objects. It should be plugged directly into an outlet.

To ensure it doesn’t tip over, use it on a level floor and never go to sleep with the heater on. Turn it off when you leave the room.

Check the house for drafts and install weatherstripping and window coverings to prevent cold gusts of air from entering.

Check out these seven cold weather safety tips from Environment Canada:

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Sources: Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canada Safety Council, Marshfield Clinic.

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