Insight from WFPD: Preparing for the melt, be cautious when walking, driving
As our calendar moves closer to summer the power of the sun becomes more evident. Noticeable melting occurs even when air temperatures remain below freezing. Surfaces exposed to the sun become wet from the melting snow and ice. Those same surfaces can become treacherous for walking or driving within minutes when no longer warmed by the sun.
Use caution when you walk. Wear treaded or slip resistant shoes or boots to maintain your footing. Stay clear of areas that appear to be wet or icy. Pay particular attention to where downspouts are located. Water may be draining onto the sidewalk from somewhere else on the building. If you must cross a wet or icy walking surface shorten your stride and slow down. Be extra cautious when light snow fall has occurred. The light covering of snow can hide the ice below.
Before carrying heavy or bulking items make sure your path is clear and dry. Ask for assistance with the item when there is no alternate path. Use ice melt, sand or floor dry to improve traction and remove ice from walking surfaces.
While driving expect ice to be present under all conditions. Even the smallest volume of wind can carry snow onto the roadway and create intermittent ice patches. Slow down and anticipate stops and turns. Avoid rapid acceleration and heavy braking. Do not use cruise control until temperatures are well above freezing and the road surfaces are dry.
Expect water to collect on road surfaces as the snow melt occurs. Gutters and drains may not have opened resulting in poor drainage. Vehicles traveling through the pools splash water onto the road surface. The roadway around the flooded areas can become hazardous as ice and ruts develop. The uneven surface can throw your vehicle out of control. Slow down when approaching pooling water.
Materials applied to the roads surface throughout the winter can also present a hazard. Near intersections and along the center line and on the shoulders of the roadways sand, salt and other materials have collected. The build up of material can cause a vehicle to loose traction while attempting to stop or negotiate a turn. Slow down and try to remain in the well traveled portion of the roadway.
Continue to exercise caution through the remainder of the spring melt season.