When the winter air is crisp, there’s 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 be active. Freezing rain, icy surfaces and piles of hard-packed snow pose injury hazards for many pedestrians.
A few simple measures can make it safer to walk outdoors in the winter and avoid injury from slipping and falling. Removing snow and ice, putting sand or salt on areas where people walk, and wearing the right footwear all make a big difference. Just one bad fall on ice can have long-term consequences.
When choosing winter footwear, find a boot that is well insulated and waterproof, with a non-slip tread, that has low heels and that is light in weight.
Walking on an icy surface can be a terrifying experience but if you can’t avoid an icy surface, there are certain steps that you can take. Believe it or not, body movements can increase your stability on an icy surface. First, slow down and think about your next move. Keeping your body as loose as possible, spread your feet to more than a foot apart to provide a base of support. This will help stabilize you as you walk. Next, keep your knees loose and don’t let them lock. If you can, let them bend a bit. This will keep your centre of gravity lower to the ground, which further stabilizes the body. Now you are ready to take a step. Make the step small, placing your whole foot down at once. Then shift your weight very slowly to one foot and bring your other foot to meet it the same way. Keep a wide base of support. Some people prefer to drag their feet or shuffle them. If this feels better to you, then do so. Just remember to place your whole foot on the ice at once and keep your base of support approximately one foot wide.
Of course, it’s always better to avoid tricky situations by being prepared and planning a safe route for your walk. To learn more about safe winter walking, visit the website of the Canada Safety Council. If despite your efforts to be safe, you are injured in a winter slip and fall accident, an injury lawyer can help you understand your rights and make sure that you get the help that you need to recover from you injuries.