How to Prevent Injury in the Bay Area During Cold Weather

It’s obvious: it’s freakin’ cold out!

The Bay Area has been hit with an arctic chill that makes me want to stay in bed all day.

Unfortunately, most of us have to get up, go to work, and take care of our day to day responsibilities.

Although obvious, it’s important to send out a reminder that cold weather means increased health and injury risks.

In the mountain regions of the Bay Area (Mt. Diablo, Livermore Valley Hills, Mt. Hamilton) snow dusted the peaks last night. In Mt. Diablo, 30 mph winds sent the temperature into the 20s.

This is a view from my bedroom looking out at Mt. Diablo in the East Bay this morning. There’s snow! In Danville!

McCall Baugh Mt. Diablo Cold

With that in mind, here’s some simple reminders this winter season:

Avoid driving in windy regions, especially if you have a high profile vehicle.

Even if you are not in a vehicle, flying debris from wind can cause extremely serious injuries. Stay inside during these conditions if possible. Don’t leave trash out that can leave someone else susceptible to injury.

Avoid driving in regions known for black ice.

As we all know: you can’t see black ice! Best to avoid these regions.

If you do hit black ice however, your first reaction must be to remain calm and avoid overreacting. The general rule is to do as little as possible and allow the car to pass over the ice. Do not hit the brakes, and try to keep the steering wheel straight.

Wash your hands. Often.

We know the flu season this winter has been one of the worst ever recorded. Avoid the flu by taking extra care to wash your hands often.  I have a friend who wipes down the door handles in her office with disinfecting wipes–not a bad idea. If you do get hit with the flu, stay home. There is no need to expose your co-workers to the flu as well.

Bundle up.

Duh, it’s cold. Wear appropriate clothes. I saw a fellow BART passenger wearing a skirt the other day and heels. A SKIRT AND HEELS! It was 32 degrees outside! Fashion should not trump being realistic. Cover up to help protect your immune system.

Drive carefully in the rain.

The rain is coming back this week full force. If you are driving–try to commute home when it’s still light out–this helps with visibility issues during rainstorms. Make sure your car is properly maintained, especially with braking systems, tires (do NOT let your tires go bald), lighting, and wipers.

As a famous talk show host states: “Take care of yourself and each other.”

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