Winter Weather: 4 Tips for Keeping the Outside of Your House a Safe Place to Be

 

Winter officially arrives on December 21st this year, but weather wise, it has already shown up in many parts of the country. Have you taken steps to winterize your home? Prepare your car?

Good. Now the next question: Are you ready to keep the outside of your home safe for your family?

You can find plenty of tips and advice on being ready for winter in your home and in your car, but we also need to make sure the cold doesn’t make us more vulnerable outside of the house. You don’t have to get out on the road to be at risk when it’s 10 degrees. You can have a really good (meaning bad) fall right outside your back door if you’re not careful! So follow these four tips to ensure you’re keeping those falls and accidents at bay.

Tip 1: Say no to slippery sidewalks
Make sure walkways are clear of tripping hazards before it snows. Otherwise that hazard might be buried and unseen, causing a bad fall when someone trips over it. Or it could be debris that makes the surface even more slippery. Debris includes leftovers from fall, such as leaves or pine needles. Keep the sidewalks clean before the snow falls or the ground freezes, and it will be easier to keep them safe and clean after.

When the cold strikes, shovel snow if you need to and as soon as you can, and have salt or sand to use on icy sidewalks to keep them from being slippery. Keep the sand or salt inside the house or just outside the door so you don’t have to walk on the icy surfaces to get to it. The same goes for the snow shovel. If you can’t get to your winter supplies because of winter, there has been a lack of thinking ahead!

Tip 2: Ditto for driveways
Just as with your sidewalks, shovel the snow when you can, and use salt or sand as needed. Also be mindful of tripping hazards that might not be in your driveway (since you drive on it) but could be right next to it, such as garden tools or a hose. Clear the sides of your driveway before the snow strikes to remove those potential tripping hazards.

Beyond that driveway, make sure you really can drive safely. Do whatever you need to ahead of time to get your vehicle winter worthy, whether that’s having snow tires put on or carrying chains in the trunk. Then, be honest with yourself about the road conditions and if you’re prepared for them. Also check the forecast to see if the weather is predicted to get worse or colder, changing those driving conditions while you’re gone. Stay home if you can. Even if your car is prepared and you’re experienced with driving in snowy, icy conditions, that doesn’t mean the drivers around you are.

Tip 3: Wear winter shoes
When you leave the house, even if it’s only to go outside to check the mail, but especially if you leave the house to go somewhere, wear shoes that are appropriate, with good grip. It won’t do you much good to keep the sidewalks clear if your shoes have slick soles!

Tip 4: Keep an eye out for icicles
Icicles might look picturesque hanging from the eaves, but they are not only dangerous: They are potentially deadly too. Ideally, you prevent icicles in the first place by making sure your attic is well insulated and not letting snow build up on the roof. (Do not climb on the roof to remove it! Get a snow rake or higher a professional.)

As far as the icicles once they do form, many people say to leave them alone because you can damage your gutters when trying to knock them off. However, if they are hanging over a pathway or doorway, you will want to either avoid walking under them or find a way to remove them. That’s when it’s time to call a professional for advice.

Winter can bring beauty but it can also bring broken bones if we’re not careful. So do some prep work now in order to keep everybody safe once it’s cold outside!

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