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Winter Ice Safety

A Walk on Ice is Not Nice

When the winter air is crisp and the ground is covered with snow, there is nothing like taking a walk to enjoy the beauty of the season — and walking is one of the best ways to keep fit.

On the other hand, winter can be a challenging time of year to get out and about. Freezing rain, icy surfaces and piles of hard-packed snow pose a hazard for the innocent pedestrian.

Walking in snow is not as easy for us humans as some animals make it look! The same snow and ice that creates a winter wonderland can turn familiar territory into a hazardous landscape for pedestrians and motorists.

Before you take a step onto that slippery sidewalk, consider these safety tips. A few simple measures can make it safer to walk outdoors in the winter.

Ray Price
Director of Safety & Security for Southcoast Hospitals
Here are helpful hints from Ray Price, Director of Safety & Security for Southcoast Hospitals, that will reduce the risk of falling when slippery conditions exist:

  • Outfit yourself for safe walking: Wear boots or overshoes with soles. Avoid walking in shoes that have smooth surfaces, which increase the risk of slipping.

  • Walk cautiously. Your arms help keep you balanced, so keep hands out of pockets and avoid carrying heavy loads that may cause you to become off balance.

  • Walk "small." Avoid an erect, marching posture. Look to see ahead of where you step. When you step on icy areas, take short, shuffling steps, curl your toes under and walk as flatfooted as possible.

  • If the sidewalks and walkways are impassable and you have to walk in the street, walk against traffic and as close to the curb as you can.

  • Proper gear is a must, but wearing dark "winter" colors can make it difficult for motorists to see you. Wear a brightly-colored scarf or hat or reflective gear, especially if you have to walk in the street. Don't forget gloves and footgear with non-slip soles.

  • Snow that has accumulated into drifts can muffle the sounds of approaching motor vehicles. Hats and scarves that cover your ears can muffle or even block these sounds. Keep warm, but dress so that you can hear what's going on around you.

  • If you can, shop before the storm hits. If you must shop, don t buy more than you can easily carry. Remember: The sidewalks and streets are slippery and carrying heavy packages can impair your balance.

  • When traveling with babies or small children, make sure they are dressed in brightly-colored or reflective clothing.

  • If you have to push a stroller or walk in the street, the child should be in front of you and as close to the curb as possible.

  • Snow and ice may keep motorists from stopping at traffic signals or slowing down for pedestrians. Before you step off of the curb into the street, make sure that any approaching vehicles have come to a complete stop.

  • Bending your knees a little and taking slower steps can greatly reduce your chances of falling.

And remember the mantra: "Don't Rush — Be Safe — Stay Healthy"

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