Walking Safely in a Winter Wonderland

February 9, 2016

winter wonderland

“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening, A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight, Walking in a winter wonderland.” It’s that time of year again—the snow will be falling and you will be looking forward to strolling around outside enjoying the beauty of winter. While walking is excellent exercise and we encourage everyone to enjoy the winter wonderland, we want to ensure you avoid falls on the ice and snow.

To keep everyone safe and on schedule this holiday season, I have compiled some tips to prevent falling this winter:

Avoid snow-covered sidewalks and streets: Walk only in areas that have been cleared and treated appropriately. Even so, be aware that black ice may be in some spots and can cause you to fall. Make sure the walkways are well lit so you can see where you are going.

Wear sensible footwear: AVOID cowboy boots, sneakers, leather shoes and plastic-soled shoes. While they may be more convenient, they will NOT give you any traction to prevent falling. Invest in a pair of snow boots and plan ahead if you need to change shoes for going to work or an indoor event.

Plan ahead: The best way to avoid falls in bad weather is to avoid it altogether. There will undoubtedly be storms between now and the holidays—so plan for them by checking on the weather and allowing time to stay in when necessary. When you need to go out, make sure you follow the steps above.

Take your time: As this is the busiest season of the year, we all have lots to do and seemingly little time to do it. Make a list (and check it twice!) of where you need to go and what you need to do so you’re efficient with your trips. Your chances of falling are greater when you rush, especially if you are running late. So allow plenty of time to get places, slow down, don’t cut corners or take risks, and make sure you arrive in one piece.

Ask for help: If you are walking with someone, ask that they give you a hand. Otherwise, walk like a penguin and take short, shuffling steps, walking as flat footed as possible.

By Effie Koustas, MPT