I am a traffic officer and in winter I always have issues with fingers freezing. Are there any hints besides hand warmers to keep my fingertips from getting so cold they hurt? I direct traffic so swinging my arms around is not an option!

I put on rubber gardening gloves before I put on my winter gloves to help keep cold air from passing through.

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    What kind of winter gloves do you have?
    – Wills
    Nov 16, 2014 at 14:05
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    You can't keep your hands warm if the rest of your body isn't sufficiently insulated, your core will draw heat from your extremities to keep your vital organs warm, if you keep your core extra insulated, then you'll have more warm blood flowing out to your hands and feet. Cross country skiers wear thin gloves, they're terrible for general use, but work when you're skiing because you're generating more heat.
    – ShemSeger
    Nov 17, 2014 at 4:13
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    As well as the excellent advice in the answers, bear in mind that your employer has obligations towards your safety so you should discuss it with them, too. If they make you stand out in the cold, they need to be providing you with appropriate equipment to keep you safe. Nov 17, 2014 at 10:55
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    @DavidRicherby employer obligations towards employee, depends on what country you live in. Nov 18, 2014 at 16:13

4 Answers 4


Some general rules:

  • layer system also for the hands is a good idea but those gardening gloves won't work pretty well
  • better use inner liner gloves (wool or even a softshell glove) and a warm mitten as the outer layer
  • to avoid cooling off use hats (again use a layer-system) including a warm winter hat which covers the ears (also see this about heat loss through the head)
  • adjust the rest of your clothings because your cold hands are just the first sign of the entire body getting too cold: the human body will first lower the blood circulation in the limbs (hands, feet) to stabilize the body core temperature
  • preventing wind-chill is very important, use windproof gloves!
  • eat and drink more than you normally would, burning fat or complex carbohydrates will warm you from the inside while digesting (counterintuitively eating ice cream will warm you too)
  • in breaks like you will most likely already do: swinging arms, rubbing hands, eating hot soups or drinking something hot (unless you aren't starting to sweat from the hot drink!)

As a traffic officer you could try to be very active while performing, a little dance will keep you warm and delight the people waiting in their cars ;)

  • There's a policeman who's always dancing while he regulates traffic, close to where I live. He's not always there, he always makes me smile :)
    – aspyct
    Oct 16, 2015 at 11:23
  • "cold hands are just the first sign" - not necessarily if you have Reynaud's syndrome. Dec 12, 2018 at 15:06

If the suggestions in Everything's answer don't work, try these heating options:

My wife has Reynaud's which leads to poor circulation in fingers and toes, so needs to use these solutions on occasion, and they are very effective.

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    I've just got my pair of Alpenheat glove liners "for Christmas", and they are lovely. Dec 12, 2018 at 15:08

I have friends who swear by silk inners. They are thin, so can be worn under other gloves, but are extremely warm for the thickness. Combine these with windstopper outers - as mentioned elsewhere, layering is good practice.

On the downside, silk is really expensive, at least where I live.

On the upside, silk lasts a long time and doesn't get smelly.


As Wills writes, you should focus on all your body parts. To survive the Polar Vortex you need:

  • Winter boots. These should comprise of an outer boot and a removable inner boot. The inner boot should be well insulated from the outer boot.
  • Trousers. You should wear long underpants, down-filled trousers and a wind stopper over that.
  • Down filled jacket.
  • A face mask. Coldavenger includes a ventilator that warms and moistens the air you breath in.
  • Arctic hat, see e.g. here. You should wear a balaclava under such a hat.
  • Ski goggles to protect your eyes from the cold wind.
  • Arctic Mittens to keep your hands warm.

When dressed up properly, your face should look like this:

 Felicity Aston

  • 2
    While I enjoyed this, I'm not sure you've quite followed the OP's requirements :-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Nov 17, 2014 at 8:30
  • From my own experience, if you have to be outside relatively inactive in the cold, exposed to the wind then this sort of rigorous clothing will really keep you warm. With less rigorous measures you will still start to feel cold after half an hour or an hour standing relatively still in the cold. And breathing in bone dry cold air combined with the air pollution from the cars will strain the airways, so the Cold Avenger ventilator may help to prevent problems. Nov 17, 2014 at 17:14
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    @CountIblis So everyone on a Christmas market should be wearing the stuff you mentioned? Maybe if we are speaking of -50°C. Would love to see the crowd when a traffic officer comes in an expedition parka and a Darth Vader mask though.
    – Wills
    Nov 17, 2014 at 19:21
  • If you go shopping you can seek shelter from the wind, you may be in a crowd, you can decide when you want to enter a shop and when to go home. That's not similar to having to stand at a specific spot on the road for many hours. In the latter case, from -5 C till -15 C in windy weather, you can do without the Cold Avenger, but down-filled trousers and good quality winter boots are important. Below -15 C you have to consider using a Cold Avenger ventilator. Nov 17, 2014 at 20:01
  • I have been in cold places taking pictures wearing appropriate clothing at about -10 C in windy weather. Almost always what happens is that the people who are with me are gone after about 20 minutes, they then say "it's cold, I'm going to drink something in the cafe". And then an hour later they come outside again for another 20 minutes. Thing is that these people are dressed ok. for a hiking trip, but not for standing still. Especially the trousers are a problem, because your leg muscles that would normally produce quite a bit of heat when walking are inactive when standing still. Nov 17, 2014 at 20:10

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