As winter finally considers maybe starting here in Southern Ontario it is worth reminding ourselves, family and friends of some winter tips to maximize your enjoyment of the season and minimize the cost. Be sure to check out the links for extra tips!
Don’t overdo the salt, in fact you barely need any at all! Try to start by buying salt alternatives – encourage your local government to do the same! Often, like fertilizer on our lawn, we apply far more than is needed. Use a salt alternative, this link provides a wealth of information, including cost and benefits/harms of each: http://water.greenventure.ca/road-salts-alternatives
For your government, share some of these tips as to why they should consider alternatives – great for the longevity of infrastructure, city trees and landscapes as well as our waterways! Be sure to add-in that this must occur with improved policy, such as lower winter speed limits and stronger recommendation (or mandatory, depending) for use of winter ties: http://inhabitat.com/snow-melting-road-salt-wrecks-havoc-on-the-environment-infrastructure/
Don’t drive too fast! Best to take it slow and steady or, if you want a comfortable commute without the stress of whiteout roads, there is often a bus/train alternative waiting for you! More driving tips here: http://www.caasco.com/Auto/Auto-Maintenance/Winter-Driving-Guide-Tips.aspx
Do keep an emergency kit in your car at all times (not just winter) – this should include at minimum: flashlights and batteries, radio, blankets, charging cables, flare, first aid kit, window puncture, heat/cold pack and ideally some non-perishable food and a spare tire.
Do check on your friends, family and neighbours throughout the season, especially when a storm hits. Sticking together brings out the best in us, like when someone needs help shovelling their driveway, a charge for their car or heat/shelter/food if the power runs out. More tips for winter safety can be found here: http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/sfttps/tp201212-eng.aspx
Finally, DO keep a stockpile of hot chocolate (and your favourite toppings), it just makes winter awesome. Now back to enjoying the great winter season, time to get outdoors!