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 with 75.8 inches. While most 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 going out in a snow storm is a must.
"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 while out during a snowstorm, SIMA advises the following:
• Check the weather reports. Before starting on a road trip, check the weather report. If it already has started to freezing rain, sleet or snow, listen to the news to hear about local road conditions before leaving home. If the roads are hazardous, consider staying home.
• Make a list and check it twice. Prioritize your to-do list. It may be mandatory to go to the grocery store for bread, the drug store for medicine or the hardware store for batteries, but the dry cleaning can wait. Run necessary errands during the day and avoid going out at night.
• Be prepared to weather the storm. Just like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, be prepared for whatever weather may be out there. Be sure to have an ice scraper and snow brush in the 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. Be sure the cellphone 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.
• Stay back. Make sure to remain a good distance away from snow removal equipment. While the strong lights on the snow removal equipment should allow the professional to see, these lights can be blinding if they are behind. In addition, some trucks may be spreading salt or other materials designed to melt snow and ice and those materials don’t need to be on a windshield further blocking the ability to see.
• No need for speed. Slow down in the rain, but this is even truer in snow and ice. The time needed to stop, the possibility of sliding on ice all increase when it starts to snow or when freezing conditions persist.
For more snow and ice removal tips, visit sima.org.