Tips for Avoiding Winter Falls
The weather hasn’t been too bad so far this year, but eventually the inevitable will hit… snow and ice! If you’ve ever slipped and taken a hard fall on the ice, you know how painful it can be! (And how tricky it is to avoid those icy patches!) We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips for avoiding winter falls to help you stay upright this winter. Take a quick read and your backside may thank you!
- Footwear. It all starts with the shoe. Be smart about what you’re wearing on forecasted winter weather days. If you need to wear heels or dress shoes for work, wear boots on your walk in and switch when you get into the office. It’s smart to always have a pair of boots in your car just in case you need them!
- Black ice. As if ice wasn’t hard enough to avoid already, black ice makes it even more difficult to find those slick patches. Black ice is a thin layer of frozen water without many air bubbles making the ice transparent and creating the illusion that the surface is wet, rather than icy. If a sidewalk looks wet, take extra caution. Slow down, keep your body as loose as you can, and take small but stable steps. Try to keep your center of gravity over your front leg so that if you do start to slip, you can catch yourself with your arms. Think about how a penguin walks, and try to mimic this action – you may look silly, but at least you won’t be taking a tumble!
- Getting in and out of vehicles. Many falls happen simply because we aren’t aware of our surroundings. Think about it – you’re excited you found a good parking spot and are in a hurry to get into the warmth of the mall. You hop out of your car without thinking of the icy parking lot! Keep a firm hold of the car door or your seat until you know the surface below you is stable enough to let go.
- Entrances to buildings. You aren’t in the clear once you step into an ice-free building. Many spills happen at entrances to buildings. As people clomp the snow off their boots, puddles of water accumulate and become another slipping hazard. Again, be aware of your surroundings! Try to walk on carpet as much as possible and walk around and puddles you see. Do your fellow man a favor and let employees of the business know if entrances are too dangerous.
- Falls still happen. Sometimes you can be as careful as can be and still wipe out. There are some things that can help lessen the injuries. Keep your load light and your arms free to catch your fall. This means however cold it may be, you’ll need to keep your hands out of your pockets – so bring those gloves! You can also try to fall on your side or your back side – if you can help it, avoid falling on your knees, wrists or elbows, which are more likely to break and cause serious injury. If you’re walking outside, bring a phone so if a bad fall does occur, you can call a family member or 911.
In general, just be careful out there! You can never go wrong with staying indoors when there are icy conditions. A warm, cozy house always sounds better than navigating slick sidewalks and parking lots. Let’s all cross our fingers for a warm winter and stable walking conditions!