Take precautions on thawing ice and open water - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Take precautions on thawing ice and open water

MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County authorities are reminding everyone to be safe around area lakes and waterways as rain and warmer temperatures begin to thaw and deteriorate the ice.

The Sheriff's Office Marine and Trail Enforcement Bureau reminds the public of these potentially life-saving precautions to take if you plan one more trip out on the ice:

  • Use caution near bridges and trestles, as the structures conduct heat into the water, causing ice near these areas to be more dangerous.  This is also true for areas where there is a current running through the water.
  • Be watchful when traveling on the ice at night or in fog.  Reduced visibility increases your chances of driving into open water or onto weak ice.  This is a frequent cause of ATV and snowmobile related crashes.
  • Use the buddy system.  A friend may be able to rescue you or go for help if you get into difficulty.  Before you leave home tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.
  • Always wear a float suit or a lifejacket.  Wearing a personal flotation device increases your chance of survival if you go through the ice.
  • Take safety equipment with you.  Ice picks, a rope, and a cell phone can make a big difference.
  • Avoid alcohol.  Alcohol impairs your judgment, coordination, and reaction time and speeds up hypothermia.
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