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 "Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."  ~ Edith Sitwell

Welcome to Winter!

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is a fun-filled, snow-covered paradise when the weather dips below freezing.  Here the chilly temperatures open the door to wonderful winter activities for the whole family, indoors and outdoors!

While the thrill of a snowfall and the anticipation of the holiday season plays a predominant role in our minds, it is important for residents and visitors to our region to take precautions during the winter months.

Below are some important winter survival tips.


 Dressing Properly for Winter

1.  Dress in Layers
Dressing in layers is one of the most important things to remember when dressing in cold winter months.  The advantage to dressing in layers is that you can add or subtract layers as you need them, which will help you stay comfortable.  

  • First, start with a thin layer, such as silk, polyester or nylon next to the skin.  Do not use cotton as your first layer.
  • Second, add a layer of fleece or polyester.  Wool is also excellent for the second layer, but is more restrictive and heavier.
  • Thirdly, add a water-proof, wind-resistant layer.  The best outer layers are constructed with Gore-Tex or other man-made fabric.  

Make sure that you wear appropriate layers on your legs as well.  Jeans will freeze at colder temperatures and will not help keep you warm.

2.  Keep Your Clothing Loose
Looser clothing insulates better as well as ensuring you can move more freely.  Do not wear clothing that is too tight.

3.  Less is (Ironically) More
You want to stay warm in winter, but wearing too many layers can cause you to sweat.  This will cause you to become colder, due to the moisture created.  It is best to wear layers of the proper materials, and choose clothing that is of good quality.

4.  Avoid Cotton Near The Skin
Cotton is well known for absorbing water, or in this case sweat, which will result in you becoming cold very fast.  Other fabrics, such as nylon, silk and wool are better suited for your first layer next to your skin.

5.  Keep Your Feet Dry and Warm
Your feet will help to regulate your core body temperature.  Keep them warm by wearing good quality socks, and layering your feet is also a good idea.  Again, cotton socks are not recommended as a first layer.  Wool socks will help keep your feet warm.  To ensure your feet stay dry in your winter boots, you may want to wrap a plastic bag around each foot.

6.  Remember Your Accessories
Hats, gloves or mittens, and a scarf will round out your winter ensemble and will ensure you are ready to enjoy all that winter in the Wood Buffalo Region has to offer.  
A hat, or toque, with ear flaps is highly recommended.  Gloves that are lined with fur or fleece will keep your fingers toasty, and a scarf is essential to help fight the bite of a cool winter wind.
Don't forget your sunglasses...they will help keep the wind out of your eyes, and protect your eyes from the glare of the newly fallen snow. 


Winter Driving Tips (courtesy of Alberta Transportation)

Keep your vehicles in shape for winter driving 

• Winterize your vehicles. This should include an examination of the spare tire, battery, belts, hoses, anti-freeze, tires, brakes, heater, defroster and windshield wipers. 

• Carry an emergency road kit in your vehicle’s trunk or cargo space. 

• Clear all snow and ice completely off windows, side view mirrors, headlights, taillights and licence plates. 

• Buckle up and adjust head restraints. The centre of your head restraint should be even with the top of your ears. 

• Try to keep your vehicle’s fuel tank more than half full. The extra volume can help reduce moisture problems in your fuel system and it adds extra weight to your vehicle. A topped-up gas tank will also be an asset if you become stranded. 

Don’t expect clear and dry summer highway conditions in the winter 

• The Alberta government and its highway maintenance contractors work hard to keep Alberta's highways clear and open to traffic during the winter. However, some severe storms exceed their ability to keep highways free of snow and ice. This may be caused by the amount of snow, timing or duration of the storm, high winds, freezing rain or a combination of all of these factors. 

Drive cautiously during bad weather 

• Slow down when conditions aren’t ideal. The posted speed limit is intended for ideal road conditions. Even if road signs say you may drive 110 km/h, that doesn’t mean you should if the road is icy or snow-covered. 

• Motorists have a legal obligation to drive according to road conditions. You can be charged with a traffic offence by police if you are found not to be doing so. 

• Stay back from snowplows. They will let you pass every five to eight kilometres or when it is safe to do so. 

• Plan the best route to your destination ahead of time. 

• Keep your headlights on all the time - don’t rely on daytime running lights. Low beams are more effective than high beams in fog or heavy snow conditions. 

• Never use cruise control in winter conditions. 

• When travelling on snowy roads, try driving outside of the previous tire tracks to give you some extra traction. This also helps when there are shiny ruts in the road. 

• Signal well in advance of turning to give other motorists time to anticipate and react to your actions. Check your rearview and side mirrors, and always shoulder check before changing lanes. 

• Avoid sudden moves by anticipating turns or lane changes. Abrupt changes in direction or slamming on the brakes could cause you to spin out of control. 

• On a wet or slick surface, allow yourself at least three times the normal following distance to stop. 

• Remember that bridge decks may be slippery even when other parts of the highway are not, since they are subject to greater temperature fluctuations. 

• Know your braking system and how it reacts on ice. Always be gentle with braking pressure on slick roads. 

• Avoid braking on curves by driving through them at a safe, steady speed. 

• Accelerate slightly when approaching a hill and then maintain a steady speed going up. 

• Gear down for both uphill climbs and downhill grades. This can help you avoid brake wear and chances of sliding. 

But be careful of abrupt downshifting as it can upset a vehicle’s balance and cause a skid to occur, particularly when turning. 

• Take your foot off the brake if your vehicle begins to skid and steer in the direction you want to go. When the wheels regain their grip, brake firmly and smoothly. 

• If you are driving a rear-wheel drive, prepare to steer just enough in the opposite direction in order to prevent a counter skid. 


 Emergency Roadside Winter Kit

You should keep a complete winter roadside kit in each vehicle, either in the cargo space or your trunk.  Always refill this kit before traveling in winter.

  • blanket
  • extra clothing and footwear
  • emergency non-perishable food
  • water
  • candle in a deep tin
  • flashlight, with extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • booster cables
  • fire extinguisher
  • ice scraper and snow brush
  • road map
  • paper towels or rags
  • compass
  • road salt, sand, or kitty litter
  • shovel
  • your cell phone.

For information on upcoming tradeshows visit http://www.fortmcmurraytradeshows.com

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