7 Tips for Walking Safe in Wintry Conditions

Walking. Sometimes, you walk your dog around the neighborhood. Maybe you walk to and from your car at the office. You might even walk for recreation at the park.  Walking is a part of our everyday lives, but when faced with inclement weather, this simple activity can prove to be rather difficult.

Walking isn’t something you usually have to think about, but during the winter months, it’s important to be mindful of your movements. Diane Simon, RN, trauma coordinator/registrar at ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital offers seven tips for walking safely in the cold, snow and ice.

  1. Concentrate on the path ahead. “Watch where you are walking and what lies ahead,” Simon says. “A clear sidewalk can quickly change to a snowy patch. It’s important to be alert.”
  2. Avoid slippery surfaces and shortcuts. Simon suggests steering clear of sidewalks that have not been shoveled or salted. Additionally, she warns against jumping the snow bank to shorten your distance. “Shortcuts are never a good trade for safety,” she says.
  3. Wear appropriate footwear.  Simon recommends wearing boots or shoes with a rough surface. “Look for soles that are textured, waffled or ridged,” she says. “They will grip the surfaces better, making your stride steadier.”
  4. Use handrails where they are available. While you may trust yourself to be a steady person, handrails offer an extra boost of confidence in the winter.
  5. Be cautious of slush. Especially when entering buildings like work, school or stores. “Slush tends to accumulate in these areas as people stamp off their boots and shoes,” Simon says. “These areas can be just as hazardous as snowy areas.”
  6. Keep a slow pace. Simon says to be aware of changes in walking surfaces and levels. Snow can hide a decline or drop in the sidewalk, so it’s always best to walk at a slower pace.
  7. Removed packed snow from your shoes. Snow stuck to the bottom of shoes, coupled with either wooden or tiled floors may lead to a trip to the doctor, warns Simon.