Walking in a winter wonderland … without slipping and falling

Penguin in Antarctica on a sunny day

Slips and falls are two of the most common causes of injury during the winter months. Rain, ice and snow all can dramatically increase the likelihood that you will end up injured. Safety experts say one of the best ways to avoid a serious injury is to walk like a penguin. It’s true! Spread your feet out a bit to increase your center of gravity and take small steps. Next time you are out on an icy sidewalk, try it.

Besides walking like a penguin, here are some other suggestions to help you prevent wintertime slips and falls:

Wear the proper shoes. Make sure your shoes have proper traction. Dress shoes and other types of footwear that have little or no traction aren’t good choices when there’s rain, ice or snow.

Assume the surface is slippery. If you aren’t sure whether a surface is icy, it’s better just to assume that it is.

Take your time. This isn’t the time to race your friend (or clock!) by running to the bus or door. Take your time getting where you need to go on rainy, icy or snowy path ways. Use any hand rails that are available to you.

Keep your hands out of your pockets. This is an important tip. Walking with your hands in your pockets decreases your center of gravity and balance and increases your chances of suffering an even greater injury in the event of a fall. If your hands are out of your pockets, you’ll be better able to break your fall with them.

For more safety tips and how to safely fall on the ice, check out this link.