It’s no secret that brutal winter weather can be dangerous, but what exactly should people look out for? We looked at five common winter myths and set the story straight to keep you healthy and happy all season long.

Fiction: If there’s no snow on the ground, the roads are safe to drive

Fact: It’s important to drive especially careful in the winter regardless of snow on the road. Temperatures in Michigan are often below-freezing, meaning there can be black ice that’s hard to see and can send cars spinning. Be sure to travel at the posted speed limit, give extra room and time to brake and take turns slowly.

Fiction: It’s important to get outside immediately after a snowfall to shovel the snow

Fact: Hold it! Before grabbing that shovel or doing any strenuous work outside, be sure you warm up and get your body ready for these chores. Warm your muscles up by doing some stretching and don’t hesitate to take breaks and warm up when needed. You’ll not only work be more efficient in moving snow around, you’ll also lessen the chance of injury.

Fiction: It’s best to wear as many layers as possible to stay warm

Fact: We certainly recommend bundling up when going outside, but it’s crucial to be smart with what you’re wearing more so than how much. Have you ever heard the expression ‘cotton kills’? This is because cotton is super absorbent and holds water when in contact with moisture. When you perspire, any cotton touching your skin will absorb sweat and no longer provide insulation. This can lead to hypothermia, disorientation or worse if serious enough. Synthetics and fleece are the way to go in winter – they’ll both keep you warm and dry.

Fiction: Pets can stay outside if the weather isn’t too cold

Fact: While there are many dogs that can handle colder conditions than humans, it’s smart to live by ‘if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them’. Even if the temperatures aren’t a risk to your pets safety, products that are used to melt ice and snow can potentially be dangerous to paws or if ingested. Some of these products can even damage concrete, so you can imagine the harm it can do to a pet. Use common sense when letting your pet outside and bring them in when the weather is bitter cold.

Fiction: The common cold, which is the most common sickness during the winter season, are caused by viruses, not because you don’t wear a hat or because you went outside shortly after a shower. You’ll feel a bit chilly with a wet head outside, but nothing else will happen. Unless you are so cold that you risk hypothermia, wet hair or clothes won’t put you at risk.

Check out our other Your Neighborhood blogs for more great tips.

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