Winter is the coldest season of the year. It can be a season for fun-filled activities like ice skating, skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and others, but winter bears unique risks. For example, hyperthermia due to exposure or dangerous roadways, especially after a snow or ice storm. The leading cause of death during winter is due to road hazards. During inclement weather, it is best to stay home; however, if you must travel, you should exercise a great deal of caution.Vehicle CareThe harshest season for most vehicles is winter. Although it is now February, there are still some weeks of winter weather left. Before operating vehicles, perform maintenance checks and service. If you didn’t accomplish this in the fall, it’s not too late. Check hoses and ensure the battery is fully charged. Ensure all lights are functioning properly and get the brakes checked and serviced. Tires should have good tread depth for traction. The traction between the tires and the road surface determines how well your vehicle turns and stops. Tires should be properly inflated and in good condition. Ensure the heating and cooling system is working properly and windshield wipers should be in good condition and the windshield wiper fluid reservoir should be full.Plan ahead when driving, especially in bad weather. Again, avoid traveling in bad weather, but if you must go out, make sure you have enough fuel, clear the ice and snow from your vehicle and make sure the windows are clear of fog and ice. Measure your speed and wear your seatbelt at all times.Dress to shovelDress properly for winter. Wear layers of thick, loose fitting clothing. Wear a warm hat and gloves, and wear the proper footwear. Footwear with traction soles are best as they will stabilize you during movement and prevent you from sliding.A common danger is shoveling snow and, sometimes, ice. When we look outside and see the fresh snow on the ground, on the sidewalks, and on the driveway our thoughts switch to shoveling snow. Snow covered sidewalks can be a safety hazard for you, your family and your neighbors.Shoveling snow can also cause injury. If you have a heart condition or other health issues, contact your doctor before shoveling. It is important to shovel snow properly. Protect your back by bending at the knees and do not twist. Before shoveling warm up your muscles by stretching or perhaps walking in place.Select the right shovelYou want to select the right shovel. Purchase a shovel with a small blade. This will prevent you from piling on a significant amount of snow on the shovel. A small blade will decrease the strain on the body. Most of the hardware stores sell ergonomically-correct shovels. If you cannot lift the snow, push the snow. Also, we think of dehydration during summer activities, but hydration is important when shoveling. Drink plenty of water. Apply salt or sand on the sidewalks and driveway. Walk slowly and cautiously.These are some cautionary notes to safely negotiate winter hazards. We often forget “safety” factors when the scenery is so beautiful, so different, and so much fun. Before going outside to enjoy snowball fights, building snowmen, or sledding, make prudent risk assessments and take due care. With an awareness of winter’s unique hazards, you can then enjoy the season.