Enjoy winter holidays with safety in mind

It’s the holiday season. What could go wrong? Let’s think about safety issues at work, at home, in the community – while shopping, driving, and walking. 

Photo of holiday shopping bags in hands of person walking past Christmas decor

Photo credit: iStock.com/imtmphoto

Each year, I list hazards to look out for during the winter holiday season, and here I am doing it again. Please keep these tips in mind, share them with your contacts, and add your own in the Comments section.

Safe shopping in person and online

The RCMP have a Holiday Safety Infographic with some great advice, including on how to shop safely. For starters, if deals seem too good to be true, don’t fall for them.

In terms of online shopping, they warn not to use public WiFi to shop on. (WiFi hotspots are convenient, but most of them are not secure.)

When you’re physically out and about, they recommend that you don’t withdraw more money than you need. And if you drive, do park close to exits and in well-lit areas.

Safe driving in snow

Snow is part of winter driving in British Columbia. Even though it’s often pretty, snowfall brings hazards to people with places to go, things to do, people to see.

Ask yourself: “Do I really need to go?” If you don’t, it’s a big relief. At least, that’s how I see it, as one of those Vancouverites who doesn’t like driving in the snow. I’m always glad for people (sometimes from other communities and provinces) who take the wheel when I’m not game.

Yet even seasoned drivers are at risk in hazardous road conditions. The posted speed is the maximum under ideal conditions. Slow down to match road conditions and maintain a safe following distance (at least 4 seconds) between you and the vehicle ahead.

That advice comes from Shift into Winter, the website of B.C.’s Winter Driving Safety Alliance. I wrote about them in my recent post Safety planning for workers who drive in bad weather. They say the next three months are the most dangerous for driving. So whether you’re driving for work or pleasure, please make sure to plan for safety, prepare your vehicle, and slow down.

To find out the latest road conditions, look at DriveBC. Then keep an eye out on the road and sky because conditions can change quickly.

Safe walking in winter

Photo of pedestrians walking in snow on Mont Royal Avenue, Montreal

Photo caption: iStock.com/Marc Bruxelle

Pedestrians: please stay aware of what’s going on around you.

If we’re looking at phones and/or wearing earbuds or headphones, we could miss an important signal – like the screech of brakes, or someone yelling “Look out!” Seeing and hearing alerts us to signals in the environment that can help us stay safe.

So keep your head up and your eyes open. Also, be seen. ICBC reminds us, in Tips for Safe Walking, to: “Wear reflective clothing or gear and flashlights to make it easier for drivers to see you in wet weather, at dusk and at night.”

The right footwear is important, too. That’s just one of the excellent tips offered in Safe Winter Walking from the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA).

SIMA reminds us to plan ahead when we are walking on snow or ice on sidewalks or in parking lots, and walk consciously. “Instead of looking down, look up and see where your feet will move next to anticipate ice or an uneven surface. Occasionally scan from left to right to ensure you are not in the way of vehicles or other hazards.”

That’s but a few of the many safety considerations that come up during the holidays. Please add more below, since I’m out of space for this post!


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