The unfortunate reality of the winter months is that you’re going to have to walk on icy pavement. It could be the sidewalk outside of a shopping center or even a nearby home. It could be the parking lot in front of the local grocery store. Even though people are supposed to clear ice and snow in a prompt manner, they don’t always do it, and so these hazards will exist. You can’t always avoid them, and they’re incredibly dangerous, so you need to know how to walk safely and avoid injury.
Beyond just walking slowly
The best advice you can get is simply to walk slowly. Rushing and jogging often lead to falls. Take your time, slow down and always give yourself ample time to get somewhere if you think that the conditions are going to be anything less than ideal. But that’s not all you can do. A few other important tips include:
- Shortening your steps
- Focusing on a balance point that is straight above your feet, without leaning or reaching
- Rejecting clumsy footwear, like high-heels, for flat-soled shoes
- Considering metal spikes or enhanced traction footwear
- Never put your hands into your pockets, even when it’s cold
- Ensuring that your shoes or boots aren’t covered in ice or snow
- Always using handrails or other objects to balance
- Remembering that changes in flooring can be dangerous — for example, the greatest risk may be when you step off of the snow and onto a tile grocery store floor
- Staying focused and staying off of your phone
- Working on your own physical conditioning to increase leg and core strength
If you do fall, be conscious of how you do it. Going over backward is very dangerous, as your head can snap back and strike the ground. If at all possible, you want to fall sideways. Don’t catch yourself on your hands or arm. Let your hip and shoulder take the fall. Protect your head.
After an injury
Knowing how to walk and how to fall can help, but injuries happen. If you suffer catastrophic head injuries or other serious injuries this year, you need to know how to seek compensation.