Our recent weather has been on the upswing of temperatures. The 50-degree afternoons are nice, but this is still December. It is easy to get into a habit of staying indoors all winter, but if you are able, outdoor winter activity is possible. It is important to be safe and smart for outdoor winter activity. Here are some tips for when you are ready to give up your restless indoor living.
Check the weather report- It is important to know what you are getting into. Temperature, perception, and wind are all important weather factors that will determine if you should venture out and for how long.
Dress for the weather- Exercising in the elements will raise your body temperature so dressing in layers will help you be prepared. Also, do not forget a warm hat, gloves, and socks.
Take it slow- You may want to slow down your pace in the winter. Stay at a pace that feels comfortable and be carefully of slick conditions.
Stay hydrated-Even though it is chilly, it is important to stay hydrated. You still sweat and need to drink water.
Know the signs- When the temperatures dip low or you spend an extended amount of time outside; there can be danger for your health. Exposed skin can be vulnerable to frost bite and body temperatures dipping to low can put you at risk for hypothermia. Stay safe and pay attention to your body.
Missouri winter temperatures climb high and low. If you want to visit your local parks or trails or sidewalks go for it. Everyone needs some fresh air and outside activity during the long winter months. So, grab your family or a friend and try a walk, run, bike ride, or good old playground fun.
Below are some Safety Tips for Pedestrians from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
Be Safe and Be Seen: Make yourself visible to drivers
- Wear bright/light colored clothing and reflective materials.
- Carry a flashlight when walking at night.
- Cross the street in a well-lit area at night.
- Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars, or other obstacles before crossing so drivers can see you.
Be Smart and Alert: Avoid dangerous behaviors
- Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Stay sober; walking while impaired increases your chance of being struck.
- Don't assume vehicles will stop. Make eye contact with drivers, don't just look at the vehicle. If a driver is on a cell phone, he or she may not be paying enough attention to drive safely.
- Don't rely solely on pedestrian signals. Look before you cross the road.
- Be alert to engine noise or backup lights on cars when in parking lots and near on-street parking spaces.
Be Careful at Crossings: Look before you step
- Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections, if possible.
- Obey traffic signals such as WALK/DON'T WALK signs.
- Look left, right, and left again before crossing a street.
- Watch for turning vehicles. Make sure the driver sees you and will stop for you.
- Look across ALL lanes you must cross and visually clear each lane before proceeding. Even if one motorist stops, do not presume drivers in other lanes can see you and will stop for you.
- Don't wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while crossing.
Molly Wichman, a Lee’s Summit resident and member of the Livable Streets Advisory Board, a Mayor-appointed, volunteer board whose goals include working to make our community and our streets more “livable,” safe and accessible for all of our citizens.