Winter Walking Safety
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Slips and falls while walking on ice and snow during the winter pose a serious risk of injury. Since one cannot always stay indoors during snowy periods, one has to follow some safety precautions that reduce the likelihood of falling.
- Dress appropriately so you are warm. Wear two or three layers of clothing. The inner layer should be made of polypropylene to absorb perspiration, the middle layer of wool for insulation and the outer layer of a water-proof material.
- Wear a hat, scarf, mittens and thick long socks.
- Wear bright-coloured clothing or attach reflectors to your clothes to help motorists see you at night or when there is poor visibility.
- Remove the snow from walkways around your house to make your property safe for yourself and your family. Poring sand or salt on the areas where you do most of your outdoor walking, such as to the mailbox, is a good idea to make the ground less slippery.
- Wear the right footwear. Boots are best. They keep your ankles steady and keep your legs warm. They should be insulated and waterproof to keep your feet dry. They should have thick, non-slip tread soles made of rubber or neoprene to give you traction while walking on slippery surfaces. They should have wide, low heels to help with balance.
- If you have to walk on hard-packed snow, ice grippers are useful. Attach them to your boots when you walk outside, and remove them when you walk back inside. They are extremely slippery on inside surfaces like tiles and vinyl.
- If you are elderly, use a cane when you walk outside. If you have to walk on hard-packed snow, use an ice-pick that attaches to the tip of the cane.
- Walkers and hip-protector belts are also available to aid with balance and prevent injury. You may not want to appear or feel that old, but it is much more enjoyable to walk around safely outside than to sit in the house all day.
- When walking on snow, walk with your feet quite far apart and bend your knees slightly to increase your balance. Take small steps and walk slowly. Shuffle your feet if it feels better than lifting them.
Take safe walks outside this winter to appreciate the natural beauty that you usually try to avoid.