How to Walk on Ice Without Falling
Walking on ice is dicey. One minute you’re upright and the next, you’re sliding
toward home on your tush — if you’re lucky. (If you’re unlucky, you’ll land on
something less cushioned.)
Slipping is no joke. According to the Workers Compensation Fund, slips, trips
and falls are second only to traffic accidents as the cause of accidental deaths
in the United States. Snowy, icy sidewalks and parking lots were the culprit in
80 percent of these incidents.
How can you safely cross an icy divide without going “thud” or “crack”?
Follow these tips.
Be an Ice Warrior
- View sidewalks and parking lots as the enemy. A sidewalk or parking can
be clear of snow, but still have a layer of translucent ice. Assume that any
wet surface could bring you down and move cautiously. If a sidewalk looks
icy, head for the grass for more traction.
- Head south. If you have a choice, walk on the southern side of the path.
North-facing spots stay icy longer.
- Stay hands free. If you start to fall, you’ll want your hands ready.
Invest in a pair of gloves that keep your hands toasty warm so you’re not
tempted to tuck them in your pockets.
- Swab the deck. Once inside, take off your boots so you don’t create a
slippery floor. And watch out for slick spots others may have created.
Arm Yourself with Protection
- Wear sticky shoes. Invest in a pair of low, wide-heeled shoes with
thick-tread soles made of rubber or neoprene composite. Skip the plastic and
leather soles, which provide no traction. For an even surer step, buy ice
grippers that slip over your shoes or boots, available online or at sporting
goods stores. Regularly remove sticking ice and snow from them so they don’t
pose their own hazard.
- Prop yourself up. You may not ordinarily use a cane, but ones with an
ice pick on the end can help you balance on slippery surfaces. You can find
them online and at drugstores.
- Stay puffed. Wear a bulky coat to cushion some of the blow if you do
fall. You can also try hip protectors, pads that slip into your pants or are
worn as a belt. They’re available online or at big box stores.
- Sport sunglasses. The snow’s white glare can be blinding; seeing clearly
can help you avoid slippery spots.
- Get gritty. Really want to avoid falling? Carry a small bag of sand,
grit or non-clumping kitty litter to sprinkle when you encounter icy spots.
f sand, grit or non-clumping kitty litter to sprinkle when you encounter icy
Walk This Way
- Walk like a penguin. Spread your feet. This broadens your base, making
it harder to fall. Bend your knees slightly to lower your center of gravity.
And put your arms out to your sides for balance.
- Do the slow shuffle. If you can’t bring yourself to do the Penguin, keep
feet about a foot apart, and take small, shuffling steps, aligning your feet
after each step. Keep your pace slow.
- Take stair steps one at a time. Whether you’re going up or down icy
steps, test the handrail and then make sure to plant both feet on a step
before moving to the next one.
- Fall like a pro. If you’re about to go down lean forward so the back of
your head and spine don’t hit the pavement. Try to fall on your thigh, hip
and shoulder, not on your easily broken arms, knees, wrists or spine. And
hard as it may be, relax your muscles as you fall. You’ll be less likely to