- 🧊 Try to shovel before anyone walks or drives on the snow. Whenever the snow gets compressed, it turns to blocks of ice that are much harder to remove or melt.
- 🛷 Remember you can push the snow—you don’t have to lift it all.
- 🧘♀️ Pace yourself—it’s very easy to overdo and it’s very easy to tweak something because the activity is both unfamiliar to your body and surprisingly strenuous.
- ☀️ Let the sun help. The white snow is very good at deflecting the sun’s heat—if you can remove enough snow to allow the sun to start reaching the pavement, it will help prevent new snow from sticking, it will help melt the bottom layer, it will help detach any ice chunks, etc. So it’s better to do a sloppy first pass and then return for a second pass after things have gotten a little slushy. (But budget your effort and be sure not to compact snow you’re not going to actually manage to remove.) The picture below might look sloppy, but even with significant cloud cover, this area will likely end up looking like the clear sidewalk without any further intervention (I’m sure this trick is less effective in colder parts of the world).
- 🏋️♀️ Get a second handle for your snow shovel. It reduces strain on your back and gives you a lot more options for the muscles you use, so that you can spread the load.
- Go slow downhill.
- Go fast(ish) uphill (you need momentum).
- Carry easy traction in your car: kitty litter (I don’t have a cat, but I keep some around as part of my general emergency supplies in case we lose indoor plumbing), or sample size pieces of carpet (lay them down to get out of wherever you are, then put it in park and collect them). You should also have chains in the car, even if you have snow tires, at a minimum to get through relevant checkpoints.
- If you have 4WD, this is a great time to engage to get out of a stuck spot (but turn it back off when you’re done).
- If you start to slide, turn your wheels in the direction of the slide in order to gain traction/control as soon as you can.
- (If you can, periodically test the surface you’re driving on to see whether there’s an icy layer you need to factor in)
- (Give a lot more space between you and the car in front of you, since it might take more time to stop and because that car has a much higher chance of doing something crazy.)
- Carry a snow and ice scraper in your car. I love this telescoping one. Remove the snow from the top of your car before driving—it can slide off and cause hazards for you or others.
- Add to your in the winter for the possibility of getting stuck: snacks, water (and/or a way to melt snow), warm clothes (maybe you’ll have to go dig yourself out or put chains on or maybe you’ll just want to preserve your remaining gas without running the heat in the car), hot hands, etc.Advice: Car bin for longer trips
- If you’re a pedestrian: yield to cars. It’s safer for you (they’re going to be having trouble precisely controlling their vehicle in the ice and snow), and it will avoid them needing to stop (and then start again) at an inopportune moment.
- Layering: I tend to wear layers. I wear long johns or leggings under my jeans all winter, when it’s really cold out I put a pair of wool socks over my regular socks, and instead of a big winter coat, I have a lightweight down jacket that I augment with an extra sweater underneath and/or a light rain jacket/windbreaker on top. One thing I’ve learned: I wear my shell as an extra layer when it’s colder, but if I put my hands in my pockets, they’re much less warm than when I put them in my down jacket pockets that have a layer of insulation :/ Solution: put the rain jacket pockets inside the down jacket pockets. 💡 (you can just do this by having them unzipped and digging around with your hands in the rain jacket pockets, as long as your pockets aren’t sewed to the lining of your jacket) I also layer socks—wool socks can be itchy and expensive and difficult to safely clean, so I buy them a little oversized (which is also good because they can shrink) and I wear them over my regular socks.
- Keep extra warm things in the pockets of your jacket. All winter, if you check the pockets of my down coat, in my left pocket you’ll find my left liner touchscreen glove and my left and in my right pocket you’ll find my right liner touchscreen glove and my rightSpace-age ear warmers. I might not need them every time I go out, but they’re so small and portable that it’s not a bother and if I’m choosing that jacket, the odds are pretty good that I’ll get 5 minutes into a walk and be glad I have one or the other. (I also have a tissue, because the cold makes my nose run, and spf chapstick.)Space-age ear warmers