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Harsh winter conditions can appear out of nowhere. When they do, many drivers may get caught off-guard. No matter how many winters you’ve driven through it’s always a good idea to take some time to prepare before heading out into the elements keeping in mind some safe driving advice.
Driving in Winter Weather
When planning your drive, allow for extra travelling time or delay the trip if the weather is bad. If you decide to head out onto the roads, put your seatbelt on before you start driving and keep it buckled at all times.
Be alert for "black ice" as it is just that - almost invisible and hard to spot. Black ice will make a road look like shiny new asphalt instead of the grey-white colour of pavement in winter.
Drive with low-beam headlights on. Not only are they brighter than daytime running lights but turning them on also activates the tail lights. This lighting makes your vehicle more visible.
Remember to slow down. Posted speed limits are set for ideal travel conditions. Driving at reduced speeds is the best precaution against loss of control and accidents while on slippery roads.
While approaching intersections covered with ice or snow, reduce your speed. Be aware and slow down when you see a sign warning that you are approaching a bridge. Steel and concrete bridges are likely to be icy even when there is no ice on the ground surface. Bridges over open air cool down faster than roads which tend to be insulated somewhat by solid ground.
Do not use cruise control. Winter driving requires you to be in full control at all times.
Leave more distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Stopping distance on an icy road is double that of stopping on a dry one. For example, from around 45 metres (140 ft.) at the speed of 60 km/h, to 80 metres (over 260 ft.) on an icy road surface.
On multi-lane roads, stay in the right-hand lane except when passing, and use turn signals when changing lanes. Be patient and pass other cars only when it is safe to do so. Steer with smooth and precise movements. Changing lanes too quickly and jerky steering while braking or accelerating can cause skidding.
Keep a safe distance back from snow plows, and salt/sand/anti-icing trucks. The best road conditions are behind the plow. Never drive beside or pass a snow plow due to the whiteout conditions and ridge of snow created by the plow.
If your car starts to skid it’s important not to panic. Look where you want your vehicle to go and steer in this direction. If your vehicle starts to skid while braking, take your foot off the brake. Do not accelerate.
When you're driving (and not skidding), on a slippery road, the way to brake depends on the type of brakes your vehicle has. If you don't have anti-lock brakes, use the heel-to-toe method repeatedly until you come to a full stop. This method means keeping your heel on the floor and using your toes to press the brake pedal firmly just short of locking up the wheels, releasing the pressure on the pedal, and pressing again in the same way. This action is repeated until you come to a full stop. When braking with anti-lock brakes, also use heel-and-toe method, but do not remove your foot from the brake pedal until the vehicle comes to a complete stop.
However, using winter tires and driving at a reduced speed are more important factors that determine a vehicle's stopping distance.
Winter driving can be treacherous; however, if you follow these tips and take it slow you’ll be more likely to arrive at your destination safe and sound.
For more information on winter driving including preparing your vehicle and what to do if you’re stuck or stranded in the snow, reference the OSH Answers fact sheet Driving Tips – Winter.
Indoor air quality is an important workplace health and safety concern. Poor air quality can impact your health and cause dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin, headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, hypersensitivity and allergies, sinus congestion, coughing and sneezing, dizziness, and nausea.The quality of air that you breathe at work can be impacted by a number of factors, and the interrelationships between these factors can be quite complex. By answering some straightforward questions about their environment, symptoms, workplace stress levels, and allergies, users may uncover issues which may be related to the air quality in their workplace.
AirAssess is a new mobile app from the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) designed to uncover health and safety issues related to indoor air quality in the workplace. It provides ideas to help users and their workplace take action on these air quality issues. As a comprehensive survey app, AirAssess consists of three scientifically recognized questionnaires on the indoor environment (air quality), job strain (stress), and asthma symptoms screening.
Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) collaborated with CCOHS to produce the app.
This month’s podcast features the new podcast episode Fighting Fatigue in the Workplace and an encore of the podcast Preventing Holiday Stress and Anxiety.
Feature Podcast: Fighting Fatigue in the Workplace
In this episode of Health and Safety to Go! the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) discuss the causes of fatigue and shares tips on ways workers and employers can fight fatigue in the workplace.
The podcast runs 2:38 minutes.
Encore Podcast: Preventing Holiday Stress and Anxiety
This podcast discusses the causes of a stressful workplace, and offers helpful tips on how workers can avoid or minimize stress, and what employers can do to address this important issue.
The podcast runs 5:56 minutes.
CCOHS produces free monthly podcasts on a wide variety of topics designed to keep you current with information, tips, and insights into the health, safety, and well-being of working Canadians. You can download the audio segment to your computer or MP3 player and listen to it at your own convenience... or on the go!
Mental health is a key component of a healthy workplace. And as part of healthy workplace, employers are required to protect their employees and address all workplace hazards, including psychosocial hazards. Many organizations, including the federal government, are committed to implementing the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace as part of their health and safety programs. To help organizations advance from awareness to action, CCOHS is conducting a practical one-day workshop, “Creating Your Healthy Workplace”.
The workshop is intended to equip leaders and champions of mental health with the framework, tools and resources they need to develop and implement a comprehensive healthy workplace program that addresses mental health.
Promoting a workplace culture that balances work, life, safety, health and wellness brings many rewards, including a more enjoyable and productive work environment, and happier, healthier employees who feel encouraged, supported and rewarded for their efforts.
January 31, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm
Centre for Health and Safety Innovation, 5110 Creekbank Road in Mississauga, Ontario
$325 per person; materials, refreshments and lunch included
Register online. Space is limited.
The Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability is accepting both Academic Abstracts and Workplace Case Studies for Poster Presentation at the Safe, Healthy, and Productive Workplaces Conference being held June 1-3, 2017 in Vancouver, BC.
CCOHS is a proud to sponsor this conference that brings together business and labour leadership and other stakeholders who play a role in creating and sustaining psychologically healthy workplaces to learn from academic research, applied research, and innovations in program development, implementation, and evaluation.
Submission Deadline: February 28, 2017
Abstract Submission: Create an account on our Abstract Submission site and then submit your abstract
(Problem Statement, Methods, Results and Conclusions - Maximum 500 words excluding Authors)
Conference Website: http://cirpd.org/conference
Visit the conference website for more information. English Only.
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The Health and Safety Report, a free monthly newsletter produced by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), provides information, advice, and resources that help support a safe and healthy work environment and the total well being of workers.
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