Winter Recreation Safety Tips

• Find a safe spot to sled: A good hill has a wide gentle slope. Steep hills cause high speed and you could lose control. The bottom should end in a long flat area so the sled has enough room to stop.

• Look for hidden dangers. Check for buried holes, roots, tree stumps, large rocks, fences, and barbed wire. Avoid trees by choosing an area free of trees.

• Sled in the daytime. Dusk is the most dangerous time to sled.

• Keep away from frozen water. The ice on ponds, streams and lakes may not be strong enough and you could fall through.

• Wear bright, warm, easy-to-spot clothing. Dress comfortably and in layers, as loose clothing traps air and is warmer. Wet clothing can be dangerous because it does not protect you, and your skin can freeze.

• Keep an extra blanket in the car if traveling.

• Wear a helmet. There are fewer head injuries among people who wear helmets.

• Move out of the way quickly once you reach the bottom of the hill. Walk up the side of the hill out of traffic. Do not start down the hill until the people in front are safely out of the way.

• Plan for emergencies. Sledding by yourself can be dangerous so always have a friend with you.

— Source: Flagstaff Medical Center/Air Medical Journal

Winter Driving Safety Always call to check road conditions before you travel to Flagstaff during the winter season.

Road Conditions
511 anywhere in Arizona or·1-888-411-ROAD (7623)

Before the winter season begins, have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
Flashing hazard lights
Exhaust system
Oil level (if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the SAE10w/30 weight variety)
Wipers and windshield washer fluid
Ignition system

Other tips to keep you safe:

  • Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. Some roads and areas near Flagstaff may require vehicles to be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
  • Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal.
  • Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
  • Plan long trips carefully.
  • Listen to the radio or call 511 for the latest road conditions. Always travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person.
  • If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation.
  • Dress warmly. Wear layers of loose-fitting, light weight clothing.
  • Carry a supply of high energy snacks and several bottles of water.
  • Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on winter driving.

Equip your vehicle with a car safety kit that includes:

  • First aid kit
  • Extra blanket
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Extra set of gloves, socks and hat
  • Ice scraper to keep windows clear
  • Water
  • Pocket knife
  • Canned food, can opener
  • Jumper cables
  • Matches
  • Deck of cards/games to occupy children
  • Brightly colored scarf or cloth to attract attention in case of emergency


Advisory: weather event that may threaten life or property if caution is not exercised
Blizzard: a long severe snowstorm
Blowing Snow: wind-driven snow that significantly reduces visibility to less than seven miles
Flurries: light snowfall that generally does not produce measurable accumulation
Freezing Drizzle or Rain: the effect of drizzle or rain upon impact on objects that have a temperature of 32 degrees or below
Frost: a covering of small ice crystals that forms on or near the ground when temperatures approach or drop below 32 degrees
Ice Storm: a freezing rain event that produces damaging ice accumulations of ¼ inch or greater
Icicles: hanging mass of ice formed by the freezing of dripping water
Sleet: solid grains of ice formed by the freezing of raindrops or the refreezing of largely melted snowflakes
Snow: a descent or shower of crystals of ice formed from water vapor in the air
Snowpack: layers of snow and ice on the ground at any one time
Snow Showers: snow that stops and starts suddenly and is characterized by rapid changes in both intensity and visibility
Warning: a hazardous weather element is imminent and has a very high probability of occurrence
Wind Chill: apparent temperature that describes the combined effect of wind and low air temperatures