Slips and falls are the most frequent cause of injury during the winter months. Icy sidewalks are slippery hazards. It’s important to take precautions, dress appropriately, and proceed with caution over icy surfaces. Here are some tips to stay safe and bruise-free this winter.
Dress for the Weather
- Wear shoes that feature non-slip soles that are grooved to improve traction. Stay away from shoes that have flat, plastic soles.
- Especially if you are walking outside during the evening, it is important to wear clothing that is either very bright or reflective. This makes it easier for vehicle drivers to see you if you are crossing the road or walking near the edge of the road.
- If you are walking outside during the day, it is a good idea to wear sunglasses if it’s bright and sunny outside. Snow is very reflective, and staring at the whites too long can hurt your eyes (and give you snow blindness).
- Make sure that the clothing you are wearing is keeping you adequately warm while not impairing your vision or hearing. Awareness of surroundings is crucial to staying safe, so avoid hoodies, beanies, or earmuffs that limit your field of view or your hearing ability.
- Assume all dark pavements are icy and slippery.
- Proceed slowly to give yourself enough time to react to changes in traction.
- If possible, walk only on designated pathways. Avoid taking shortcuts over snow or other frozen areas; they can be deceptively unstable and deep.
- Try not to carry too heavy a load when walking over icy sidewalks. If you must make a trip with a heavy backpack, keep your arms spread out horizontally like a penguin to help keep your balance.
- Keep your hands out of your pockets so that your arms are free to help you balance or to soften the blow in case of a fall.
- When walking up stairs or a hill, be particularly careful. These are where most accidents happen. Use a handrail if it is available and make sure your foot is firmly planted before taking the next step.
- Keep your knees loose and a little bent. When walking, plant your full foot on the ground (don’t walk on tip toes).
Share this with your friends and family so that we can all stay safe and injury-free this winter season! Stay alert for hazardous walking areas and keep these tips in mind whenever you’re walking around in freezing weather.