As the streets and sidewalks begin to be covered with snow and ice, and the risk of slips and falls increases. Whether walking is a requirement for work, used as a means of commuting, or as a form of leisure, the same strategies to improve safe winter walking apply. Below are a list of some of the strategies to consider, to make your walking safer this winter season.
1. Wear appropriate footwear when walking outdoors including:
- Non-slip tread sole footwear and avoid smooth soles (ie. plastic).
- Low and wide heeled footwear and avoid heels especially a narrow heel.
- Ice grippers/spikes on footwear (be sure to remove them before going indoors).
- Have separate outdoor and indoor walking shoes.
2. Change your behaviour when walking outdoors including:
- Be aware of snow and ice in pathways and walkwas, and be aware of current temperature and environment
- Walk slowly, take small steps or shuffle and use a wide base of support on snow or ice covered ground which can help your reaction time to changes in traction.
- Walk on designated walkways, as taking shortcuts can be hazardous.
- If you are required to carry a load, try to not carry too much and try to balance the load between hands and if possible leave your hands free to balance yourself by using a backpack.
- Keep your hands free to balance while walking (ie. out of your pockets), which lowers the center of gravity and increases balance. Having your hands free can also help break your fall if you do slip.
- When walking on stairs, use a hand rail and plant your feet solidly on each step.
3. What can be done to the environment to make it safer to walk?
- Remove snow and ice from the ground.
- Ensure that all walking areas are well lit so you can see what type of surface you will be encountering.
- Pour sand or salt on the ground to increase walking friction.
- Report any ice or snow hazards in parking lots, sidewalks etc. to your employer or the City.