Alberta RCMP are reminding the public to double-check the thickness of ice before starting to drive or walk across a frozen surface.
That’s really just using your common sense.
The weather has been abnormally warm for this time of year, and in order for lakes and rivers to freeze to the point where they are without a doubt safe to go on, it needs to be much colder than what the province has seen so far.
Every winter, social media is plastered with photos of vehicles slowly sinking into the depths of what was a believed-to-be frozen lake. Turns out, the drivers should have checked the ice thickness before trekking their over 5,000-pound vehicle across its surface.
This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to be cautious this time of year, especially around frozen lakes, ponds, and rivers.
Take this as a reminder to everyone, even those on foot, to check the ice before heading out, whether it’s for an evening stroll or ice fishing.
The Farmer’s Almanac suggests drilling a hole into the ice and using a measuring tape to determine just how thick it is.
According to the popular publication, three inches of solid, clear, blue/black pond and lake ice is enough for a single person to walk across, while four inches is suitable for a group of people travelling single-file.
In order for a small vehicle to make it across safely, the ice needs to be at least seven and a half inches thick. A light truck requires eight inches and a medium truck needs 10.
The larger the vehicle, the thicker the ice.
Teaching kids to stay off of the ice unless they have permission from an adult can prevent tragedy. Also giving them the proper tools and knowledge on ice safety and what to do in the case of an emergency can also be beneficial.
The first tip offered by Explore Magazine is to remain calm. From there, they suggest calling for help, determining the best exit point, which is generally the direction you came from, reaching forward while kicking and pulling, and attempting to haul your torso onto the ice. Once out of the water, stay low and spread your weight out.
While you always hope there will never be a need to put these recommendations to use, it’s important that anyone who could come across a frozen lake or river understands that following these instructions could save their life.