|This image from winter 2009-2010 reminds us to get ready for the coming cold weather.
The Office of Research Facilities reminds all NIH employees, contractors, patients and visitors to think ahead and prepare for the adjustments in behavior that snow and icy weather require. The winter of 2009-2010 should be reminder enough to get ready for the coming cold weather. The National Weather Service predicts this winter to bring above-normal temperatures and above-average precipitation, meaning the likelihood of more ice storms. Remember to wear multiple layers of clothing under a warm jacket, gloves, a scarf and a hat that covers your ears. Most importantly, have comfortable soft rubber-soled shoes or boots that will handle slick and slushy surfaces. Avoid footwear with hard leather soles.
Other precautions include making sure your vehicle is prepared for winter conditions. Make sure your battery is relatively new and fully charged. Check your tires for a good amount of remaining tread life and inspect your windshield wiper blades. These should be replaced yearly. Make sure your wiper fluid level is topped off with fluid that will not freeze. Always have available a sturdy ice scraper, preferably with a broom attachment, to clear ice and snow from all windows, hood and roof. In addition, it’s a good idea to carry in your trunk a blanket, extra gloves, jumper cables and a bag of kitty litter for traction under spinning tires.
Finally, give yourself extra time to get where you want to go, whether driving to work or walking across campus. Keep well behind trucks spreading salt or sand to protect your vehicle. Spreader trucks often back up and if you are too close the driver may not see you. When walking across campus, stay on plowed and treated sidewalks.
Try to avoid walking on roadsides and through parking lots, especially between parked cars where ice patches may remain. When you’re about to cross a street, make eye contact with any approaching drivers to ensure that they see you. Taking the campus shuttle bus is always a good idea in bad weather. Remember, thinking ahead and being prepared will give you the best chance of having a safe and enjoyable winter season.—