Jack Frost can be a real bastard as he can do more than nip at your toes as he conjures snow storms after snow storm during the winter months. If you live in an area that is untouched by the snow, then consider yourself lucky, because the weather in Columbus Ohio can be a real downer. After surviving year after year of harsh winters, I have devised several strategies to help you make your life a little bit more convenient (not much though).
1. Wake up 30 minutes earlier
In the real world, tardiness is often frowned upon and unacceptable. Sometimes during a high level snow emergency, work or school may be cancelled, but often times this is not the case and a night of heavy snow or worse, freezing rain can often hinder your commute time. Waking up 30 minutes earlier will give you enough time to shovel snow and scrape off the windows on your car. If you are lucky enough to have a garage, then you will be slightly better off as you will only need to do some minor shoving on your driveway (I may suggest doing this the night before if you are not a morning person). Most people do not have a garage, so that extra 30 minutes will give you enough time to clean off your car. A neat trick is to use vinegar and water in a spray bottle to melt off the ice on your car as the vinegar raises the melting point of water.
2. Tap your breaks when on icy roads
This is what may happen if you slam on your breaks; you’ll do a 360 and end up in a ditch. Tap them instead.
Slamming on your breaks may work on dry pavements or even during the rain, but when the roads are covered with ice and you need to stop, the best thing to do is to tap your breaks by pumping gently until you can get to a complete stop. Another method is to downshift, as it will cause the car to break gently while in movement. Down shifting can save your life and prevent accidents when you need to stop on a dime. If you are driving automatic, you can downshift by shifting the gears first to 2 and then to Low.
3. Walk side ways to get up a hill
Walking sideways will give your body more balance when you need to go up an icy surface that has not been salted. Since you are sideways, your shoes will be better planted and you will have more traction. It also helps to have have the right shoes! Winterized boots with cleats will help, dress shoes and tennis shoes with relatively smooth bottoms will not.
4. Bend your legs while you are walking on icy areas
Bending your knees (walk like a ninja) will allow you to maintain more balance when you are moving since you are closer to the ground. Shorter, heavier people can actually move quicker than a taller, lighter person over ice since they have body mass. Bending your knees will give you more balance and if you do fall, it will not hurt as much because you are closer to the ground. Also a stomping motion (instead of actually walking) will help you cross icy paths easier.
5. Winterize your tires
If you have bald, racing tires, then you are pretty screwed as it will be harder to stop (this should be a no brainer). Make sure you have some cash saved up in order to change the tires. If you are a skilled driver, then you may not necessarily need winterized tires, but they are more helpful.
6. Stockpile food and beverages
Sometimes you may not want to drive out in the middle of a snow storm to get food, so make sure you have plenty of reserves!
7. Drink lots of orange juice
The vitamin C will help boost your immune system. The cold temperature itself is not the cause of a cold, but the cold weather makes you more susceptible to the bacteria that causes a cold. Vitamin C will help prevent this.
8. Green Tea, Honey, Ginger, Lemon and Cayenne Pepper
This is one of my favorite ways to counter cold symptoms. If you have a soar throat, this will definitely help! Another good method is chrysanthemum or chamomile tea + honey, ginger, lemon and cayenne pepper.
9. Pay your bills on time!
The last thing you want is for your heat or hot water to go out because you forgot to pay your electric and water bill. You should also have a savings stashed away in case anything breaks.
10. Mittens, not gloves
If you want to keep your hands warm, you should wear mittens instead of gloves. The reason being is that mittens keep your fingers together, building up heat, while gloves (while more stylish, subjectively) keep your fingers apart, which will allow cold air to remain trapped inside. Unless you absolutely hate mittens, then stick with gloves. Or use Mitten-Gloves!
The best of both worlds! Mitten Gloves!
11. Lotions and oil
The cold air can crack or dry your skin, so be sure to keep some lotion readily available to prevent your skin from cracking. Olive oil can be used for more than cooking and is actually a good alternative to keep your skin healthy during the winter season.
12. Insulate your windows
Buying a window insulation kit from your local department store will keep the hot air in your home!
Bonus Tip: Double up your blankets to keep your feet warm!
To keep your feet warm, fold the blanket inside (like a sleeping bag), this will prevent a cold draft from entering in. My grandmother used to do this for me when I was a little kid, which is how I remember!