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Keep your balance in a winter wonderland

No one wants to fall, and the risk of serious injury resulting from falls rises tremendously as we age. Snow and ice may be beautiful but also makes walking very difficult. Every year people fall on ice resulting in broken bones, twisted joints and sore bodies.

Walking to and from buildings and vehicles during the winter months requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. No matter how well snow and ice are removed from parking lots or sidewalks, slippery surfaces occur. It is important to be constantly aware of the danger and learn to walk safely on ice and slippery surfaces.

These tips may make your trek a safer one.

  • In cold temperatures, approach with caution and assume that all wet, dark areas on the pavement are slippery ice patches.
  • During bad weather, avoid shoes with smooth soles and heels. Wear shoes or boots that provide traction on the snow and ice; boots made of non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles. Use the vehicle for support.
  • Walk on designated walkways as much as possible. Taking short-cuts over snow piles can be hazardous.
  • Look ahead while you walk; a snow- or ice-covered sidewalk or driveway, especially if on a hill, may require travel along its grassy edge for traction.
  • Do the Penguin Shuffle! Spread your feet out slightly while walking on ice to increase your center of gravity. Bend slightly and walk flat-footed to keep your center of gravity over your feet. Extend your arms out to your sides to help maintain balance and keep your hands out of your pockets. Take short steps or shuffle for stability.

Bundling up, walking slowly and being a penguin may not get you inside faster, but you will arrive unhurt.

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