BLOG NUMBER 24.13
Winter can be a beautiful season to be outside but walking on snow and ice can be treacherous. As we get ready for the winter season, you may be wondering how to keep yourself safe and avoid slip and fall accidents, which are unfortunately quite common.
It’s important to know how to navigate these slippery conditions, especially if you have balance issues or are an older adult. In fact, 3 million older people are treated for slip and fall injuries each year, many of which occur during winter conditions.
Follow these tips from snow and ice expert Jeremy Swenson of Swenson Consulting to stay safe this winter.
5 Tips for Walking on Ice and Snow
1. Take small steps and keep your center of gravity over your feet
Whenever you’re walking on ice or snow, take small steps and keep your center of gravity over your feet. Large steps will put too much weight on the ice, which can make it easier to slip.
If you have trouble staying balanced as you’re stepping forward or backward (e.g., because there’s a bump or dip in the ground), short steps ensure there is less momentum and force being exerted when you land on uneven ground.
2. Wear boots or shoes that have good traction
Good shoes are key for walking on ice and snow. Wear boots or shoes that have good traction on the bottom. If you don’t already own a pair of good winter boots, invest in some—they’re worth it.
3. Consider using a cane for walking outdoors
If you have balance issues, using a cane, ski/hiking pole, or another device for walking outdoors can help keep your balance. This can add extra stabilization when you walk and make you feel more confident on the ice as well.
4. Walk like a penguin
It might seem silly, but it works! Walk like a penguin by keeping your knees bent and your center of gravity directly over your feet. This will help you keep from falling because it’s hard to lose balance when you’re balanced over the ground.
Here’s a video demonstration of what it looks like to walk like a penguin!
5. Keep sand, salt, or kitty litter handy
Sometimes you need some extra traction when walking on ice or snow. Sand, salt, and kitty litter are all helpful in winter conditions. Keep some on hand to sprinkle some down on icy spots to give you more traction.
6. Plan ahead
Give yourself some extra time to get where you need to go. Also, try to think of the route you’ll take to avoid bumpy or uneven ground. Planning will help you prepare better for icy, snowy conditions.
The best thing you can do is practice walking slowly and carefully. It takes time to build up your confidence on ice, so don’t be discouraged if it seems like a big challenge at first.
The next time you head outside with snow on the ground, remember to follow these tips from snow expert Jeremy Swenson and try them out! And if you have any questions about snow and ice safety, make sure to contact snow expert Jeremy Swenson of Swenson Consulting to start a conversation today.
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