I noticed that some of you are getting snow and ice and freezing your butts off. Now that the novelty has worn off, you're probably really hating it. I bet you're wondering how we manage up here in Canada!
Welp. I want you to be safe and warm, so I put together a handy list of Winter Tips for you. I am nice.
- If your kids are playing in the snow, check them often. Sometimes kids get stuck while burrowing in a snow fort. Danger!
- Snow can be heavy, particularly if it has been ploughed into a pile. It's dangerous to burrow, because it might collapse on top of you, especially if children are playing on top.
- If your car has been snowed in, clear the exhaust before you turn it on. Or the exhaust may back up into your car interior. The results can be deadly.
- If you have to shovel snow, take it easy. The weight of snow can hurt your back and I've heard of people who have done a lot of digging sometimes have a heart episode the next day because of over straining. Shoveling snow can be strenuous exercise. Check this video out.
- If you're walking down the street you should pay attention to icicles forming along the edges of roofs. Icicles have been known to fall onto the sidewalk below - a friend of mine was struck by one. It gave her some new ideas but she was not happy.
- Ice storms can produce beautiful formations on trees and it's tempting to photograph them. But they can be heavy! Trees do shed heavy boughs covered in ice so please take care.
- Driving: DO NOT use your car as a "coat". If you get stuck in the snow and have to walk to safety without a real coat, you'll be intensely cold. Also, keep a few blankets in your car....and a bucket. You never know.
- Roads might not seem slippery, but ice can be invisible and patchy. This is known as "black ice" and it's a killer. Black ice and speed do not mix well. Brakes do not work on a slippery road. If you have to drive, you should reduce your speed. See Transport Canada for valuable winter driving safety tips.
- Regular or "all season" tires can be pretty useless in snowy conditions. Especially true if the roads are neither cleared nor salted/sanded/graveled. Snow tires are essential for getting up and down hills. It's no fun at all to be that person spinning your wheels on a hill and going nowhere. The people behind you will honk at you.
- We have these great things that I call "Crocodile Teeth", (which is a way better name than "folding steel traction aid", duh). If your car gets stuck, you put them under your wheel and the sharp teeth grip down into the surface so that your wheel can roll across the top. Totally great! But read the directions carefully: using these the wrong way can cause them to fling up into the air when the wheel spins. It can hit someone and really hurt them. And believe me, the last thing you want is to have to go to the ER when you're stuck in the snow.
- Temperatures below -10°C can be dangerous if you're not dressed properly. In Montreal in can go down well below -24. This is seriously cold. Thermal underlayers are great for keeping warm and snow pants will keep you warmer too. You definitely need good mittens and warm, dry boots. Everything waterproof! Hats that cover your ears are best and a scarf to cover your face. I always tell my kids, "your nose doesn't grow back". Frostbite, frostnip and chilblains can happen! Read this.
- Don't eat yellow snow.
BE CAREFUL. Have fun. Build a snowman. And repeat after me:
"Fuck is it cold!"
You're practically Canadian now.