With winter now in full swing in New Haven, it is once again time to brush up on safety tips for dealing with ice and snow. Though this winter weather can be beautiful, it also presents many hazards.

While you may be an old pro at handling the extra difficulty of driving and working through winter weather, share these tips with your neighbor who just moved to New Haven or your son who just started driving.

  1. When driving, leave at least a 5-second gap between you and the car in front of you. Though the common advice for a 3-second gap works well in clear, dry weather, ice changes the equation. If you have to stop suddenly on an icy road, that extra space between you and another car could mean the difference between a slight adrenaline rush on your way to work and an accident.
  2. Use sand or cat litter to add traction to slippery surfaces. Even if you do not have a cat, a box of cat litter comes in handy. Keep one by your front door and in your car through the winter so you can sprinkle a bit of added traction over slick concrete. Especially if you have elderly neighbors, this is an excellent way to reduce the chances of a very unfortunate slip-and-fall incident.
  3. Create an ice melt in your blocked gutter with a nylon stocking filled with rock salt. As the heat from your home melts the snow from your roof, sometimes, heavy ice dams can form over frozen gutters. Prevent damage to your roof shingles and the danger of falling rocks by disrupting the ice formation. The stocking of rock salt melts the ice and clears a path for snow melt to run into the gutter as it should.

With an average of 29 inches of snow and temperatures typically below freezing from December to March, you should have plenty of opportunities to put these safety tips to practice so that we all make it through the winter unscathed.