Winter Weather Safety
Winter is a fun and invigorating time of the year when you keep yourself safe. This winter's La Nina climate pattern has definitely delivered cooler, wetter conditions here in Idaho, providing for lots of snow for skiing, snow shoeing, or relaxing by the fire to watch it fall. But lots of snow also translates into slick walkways and roads. At this time of year, it is dark by 5:00 p.m., when traffic picks up as commuters return home. Combining these factors can lead to hazardous conditions for everyone. It is important that we take responsibility for our safety and keep the following information in mind.
Night Comes Early!
Depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision can all be compromised in dark conditions. This affects drivers and pedestrians.
- Drivers: be aware of crosswalk locations and scan for pedestrians.
- Drivers: slow down and leave more space between you and the car ahead – your headlights will cause reflections inside the vehicle in front of you, making it harder for that driver to see pedestrians and other obstacles.
- Pedestrians: wear bright clothing or something reflective on you or your backpack.
- Pedestrians: consider that a driver may be blinded by oncoming headlights and be unable to see you in the road.
Icy roads, with or without poor lighting, make crosswalks hazardous.
- Pedestrians: assume drivers DO NOT see you.
- Pedestrians: Wait for cars to stop before stepping into the crosswalk.
- Drivers: Acknowledge pedestrians waiting to cross so they know you've seen them.
- Pedestrians: Make eye contact with the drivers/look for them to acknowledge you, if possible, and then proceed with caution.
Even a small amount of snow or ice can be dangerous. Watch out for wet floors when you enter buildings. Snow may get tracked inside and then melt, creating a slip hazard.
- Waddle like a penguin.
- Free traction devices are available to employees at EHS or Risk.
- Keep your hands free and out of pockets. Winter is not a good time to play Pokemon Go, or do anything else on your phone while walking.
- Use hand rails where provided.
- If you see ice, scatter sand. Sand is available in many locations around campus; watch for cans labeled "Sand" - while they may look like it, they are not trash cans and should not be used as such.
- Notify Facilities at 208-885-6246 for icy sidewalks.
In addition to the standard "buckle up" and "slow down - take your time" reminders for any time of year, winter driving takes skill and preparation. Keep in mind this may be the first time for some drivers to practice these skills.
- Clear all your windows, completely, before starting to drive - even a small amount of snow buildup on the outside or fog on the inside can block your view of a pedestrian.
- Studded snow tires and four-wheel/all-wheel drive do not make your vehicle invincible; you will still need extra time to accelerate to a safe speed and come to full stops.
- Travel with extra warm clothing, food and water for yourself; keep a full tank of fuel and have proper maintenance performed for your vehicle.
- Delay travel, when possible, until road conditions improve.
- If you should slide off the road, stay in your vehicle while you wait for assistance.
Please submit a Safety Concern Form for any safety concerns you may have. This form allows you to upload an image of the situation, and report anonymously if you desire. For additional information, please contact EHS at 208-885-6524 or email@example.com.