According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the greatest snowfall in 24 hours in the U.S. was in Silver Lake, Colo., on April 15-16, 1921 - 75.8 inches. While most of us won't experience that much snow, any significant snowfall or ice can create hazardous conditions.
The Snow & Ice Management Association, the North American organization representing snow management professionals that clear snow and ice off parking lots of hospitals, shopping centers, grocery stores, offices, apartments, schools and other commercial facilities, has some tips in the event you have to go out in a snow storm.
"Venturing out during a significant snowstorm increases the chance of having a car accident or sustaining an injury such as a broken bone from a fall or frostbite from exposure to the cold," said Martin B. Tirado, CEO of SIMA.
To stay safe if you have to go out during a snowstorm, SIMA has these tips:
Tip No. 1: Check the weather reports. Before starting on your road trip, check the weather report. If it already has started to freezing rain, sleet or snow, listen to the news to hear about your local road conditions before leaving your home. If the roads are hazardous, consider staying home.
Tip No. 2: Make a list and check it twice. Prioritize your to-do list. It may be mandatory that you go to the grocery store for bread, the drug store for medicine, or the hardware store for batteries, but you can wait to drop off your dry cleaning. Run these necessary errands during the day and avoid going out at night.
Tip No. 3: Be prepared to weather the storm. Just like the Boy/Girl Scouts, you need to be prepared for whatever weather you run into. Be sure you have an ice scraper and snow brush in your car - not in the trunk, as snow and ice may make difficult to open the trunk. Have a full tank of gas; check the tire pressure, battery, and oil. Take snow clothing - boots, gloves, hats, scarves, etc. - for all those traveling with you. Be sure your cell phone is charged before leaving home, and take a car charger. Carry a safe winter car kit containing items such as kitty litter, rock salt, a shovel, a blanket, flares, water, etc.
Tip No. 4: Stay back. Make sure you remain a good distance away from snow removal equipment. While the strong lights on the snow removal equipment should allow the professional to see you, these lights can be blinding if they are behind you. In addition, some trucks may be spreading salt or other materials designed to melt snow and ice, and you don't want those materials on your windshield further blocking your ability to see.
Tip No. 5: No need for speed. You know to slow down in the rain, but this is even truer in snow and ice. The time you need to stop and the possibility of sliding on ice both increase when it starts to snow or when freezing conditions persist.
Following these tips from SIMA will help ensure you survive whatever this winter brings your way.