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Safety on the Ice

Some cold, hard suggestions

(HealthDayNews) -- Winter will be here before you know it, and Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources has some suggestions before you venture out onto that frozen pond or lake:

  • It takes at least 4 inches of clear, solid ice to support a person walking across it.
  • At least five inches of ice is required to support snowmobiles.
  • Cars and small trucks need at least 12 inches of ice to keep them topside.
  • If ice isn't clear, it may not be solid -- and you should assume it is unsafe.
  • You should check with authorities about the location of traditionally dangerous ice areas.
  • You should check ice thickness yourself, with an ice chisel, ice auger or a 1/4-inch drill with a long bit.
  • Don't drive on ice unless you absolutely must.
  • Stay away from alcoholic beverages, as they can cause errors in judgement that could cost you your life in an ice-related accident.
  • Don't "overdrive your headlights" -- anticipate what might be beyond the point where your lights are effective.
  • Wear a life jacket under your winter gear if you're going to be on foot on the ice -- but
  • Do not wear a life jacket when you are traveling in an enclosed vehicle over ice.
Consumer News