01 Dec Sleet Safety Tips
What is Sleet?
Sleet forms when falling snow melts as it passes through a warm layer of air. It then refreezes into ice again as it falls through a cold layer of air. This process often occurs during the beginning and end of winter when the atmosphere temperature begins to change.
What’s the difference between snow, hail, freezing rain, and sleet?
Snow occurs when the air is cold throughout the atmosphere (from where the snow particles form in a cloud all the way until down until it falls to the surface of the earth). Unlike snow, sleet occurs when snowflakes thaw on their way through the atmosphere and begin to refreeze again before reaching the surface.
Hailstones occur when snow-like particles form at the top of a thunderstorm and are held up in the air by strong winds. As water attaches and freezes together, hailstones grow, and once they are too heavy to be held in the air by strong winds, they fall down to the surface. Unlike sleet, hailstones are do not refreeze. They are frozen into ice before they begin to fall, and they stay frozen as they fall through the air.
Freezing rain occurs when the air temperature is above freezing, but the ground temperature is at or below freezing temperatures. Snow melts as it falls down through the warm air, but once these rain drops reach the surface they refreeze into sheets of ice. Unlike sleet, the droplets of freezing rain are not frozen ice while in the air.
How do I stay safe during sleet?
Sleet may not feel slippery as you begin walking or driving on it, but it can quickly turn into an icy mess.
- Be cautious when walking on sleet. Use handrails on steps and remove sleet from walkways as soon as possible.
- Give yourself more time to get to your destination and drive slowly on the roads.
- Give yourself more time to come to a stop or make a turn to help prevent skidding.
- Never use cruise control while driving through any poor weather conditions.
- Remember to use your headlights to abide by local laws and to increase your visibility.