The winter months can bring snow and ice to regions in the northern hemisphere. And slippy conditions increase the risk of injuries if you take a nasty tumble.
But slipping and falling in icy conditions are preventable if you are cautious when walking. Practising safe walking by following the tips below:
Wear Appropriate footwear
Winter wellies or shoes with a good grip are most appropriate in winter. Even on days when there is no snow, the ice-cold weather can freeze rainwater and leave slippy patches on the pavement.
Ladies should avoid wearing high-heels even on nights out. If you are attending a celebration where you prefer to wear high-heels, travel to the event in sensible shoes and change once you get there.
Take small steps
Small steps help you to maintain balance and give you more control over your centre of gravity. Try to avoid the temptation to walk taking your usual strides.
Once the snow begins to harden into ice and conditions become extra slippy, shuffling your feet along hazardous patches is the best way to cross the terrain safely. Push forward slightly as though you are ice-skating.
Keep Your Hands Free
It can be extremely tempting to put your hands inside your pockets during the cold winter months. However, when you’re walking in snow and icy conditions, you should keep them free and available to help break your fall in the event that you do slip over.
Using your arms to catch yourself when you fall lower the risk of injuring other parts of your body such as your lower back, head and hips. You should also avoid using your smartphone when you’re walking in slippery conditions.
If there are handrails or anything else you can use to help protect your balance, make use of it. If you do slip, having something to grab hold of can help prevent you from falling. Or at the very least, it will lessen the fall.
Step down, not out, from your vehicle
When you’re getting out of a car or stepping off a bus, step down rather than stepping out. Use the handrail when stepping down from a bus and plant one foot firmly on the ground before you bring the other one down. When getting out of a car, swing both legs out of the vehicle and stand up on both feet to give you more stability.
Walk in designated areas
Wherever possible, stick to the paths that have been crafted out of the snow by locals or the council. Areas, where gravel has been laid, should be safe but it’s still a good idea to practice safe walking. Alternatively, walk in the fresh snow which gives you more grip underfoot.
When you’re in a rush to get somewhere on time, you increase your chances of falling in icy conditions. The better plan is to plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time so that you can take your time.