West Texas winter time, stay safe my friends

The winter holidays bring family fun, festivities, and traditions, but also brings extra safety precautions to take into consideration. Visit the Centers for Disease Control’s Winter Weather website for more information on winter safety tips https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.html. (Courtesy Photo)

The winter holidays bring family fun, festivities, and traditions, but also brings extra safety precautions to take into consideration. (Courtesy Graphic)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

We all live in West Texas and it is definitely not the bobsled capital of the world, but on occasion winter-type weather can visit this area.

In preparation for those more than likely icy days and less possible snowy days ahead the following tips are recommended to help you navigate the West Texas winter wonderland safely on foot.

  • Always wear proper footwear during icy and snow days. Proper footwear should place your entire foot level on the surface of the ground and have good gripping tread. Don’t wear smooth sole shoes or heels.

  • Simple to say, but watch where you’re walking and plan ahead. Think about what you’re doing.  Don’t look immediately down but look up and out to see where your feet will move to next, anticipating ice or any uneven surface. Scan from left to right to make sure you are not in the way of oncoming traffic, about to run into other people or other hazards.

  • Use your other sense, hearing. Visualizing is important but you must also hear approaching traffic and other sounds. Leave the ear buds out and limit conversation that may prevent you from hearing traffic or other possible hazards while navigating snow and ice.

  • Anticipate, anticipate and anticipate. Make awareness your number one thought as thin sheets of ice may appear as wet pavement. Known as black ice, it often appears in the morning hours, in shady spots or where the heat of the sun melts the ice/snow during the day and then refreezes at night.

  • Take slow, measured steps. When descending steps, grip handrails firmly and plant your feet securely on each step. If no handrails are available, be extra cautious.

  • Enter buildings cautiously. Once inside a building be sure to scan the floor as it may be wet from melted snow or ice.

  • Be cautious while shifting your weight when stepping off curbs or getting into your vehicle. These weight shifts can cause an imbalance and result in a fall. 

  • Stay on the cleared paths of travel and avoid shortcuts. That extra time you might save taking a shortcut may be great if you’re in a hurry but can end up bad when you hit the “deck.” Shortcuts can be unsafe because they most likely haven’t been treated for snow or ice removal.

  • Now if we really have an apocalyptic once in 500 year snow event and there is snow and ice on buildings or structures, look up also. People have been injured from falling snow or ice when it blows, melts or breaks away.

One other item: ice grippers for footwear. Ice grippers on footwear are really effective on hard packed snow and ice, but become dangerous when you enter buildings. They must be removed before walking on smooth surfaces such as stone, tile or ceramic. If you buy ice grippers ensure you are able to easily attach and remove them from your footwear.

As always, this is best accomplished while sitting down.