According to the National Safety Council, falls account for nearly one-third of all non-fatal accidents in the U.S.. Falls usually lead to scraped knees, and maybe a bruised ego, but for some, it can be more serious. Here are some tips and reminders on how to stay safe as winter arrives.
Wear Proper Clothing
Your favorite pair of shoes may look stylish, but they may not have the best traction. When walking in icy and snowy conditions, make sure your shoes have good traction and a proper fit. You can pack your work or going-out shoes to change into later. Did conditions change while you were at work or away from home? Keep a pair of strap-on traction soles with you. They are available online or at many recreation stores, and fit over your shoes to provide extra traction on icy surfaces.
Another thing to keep in mind is to dress warmly. The walk out to your car may only be a few dozen feet, but getting distracted or rushing because you are cold could lead to a slip and fall. In the worse case scenario, if the falls leads to an emergency, dressing warmly will keep you safe until help arrives.
Take Your Time
We’re always told to drive slowly and carefully in icy and snowy conditions – the same goes for walking. When walking outside in the winder, here are some things to remember:
- Leave yourself extra time. A few extra minutes carefully navigating an icy sidewalk could save some pain later.
- Don’t take shortcuts. Keep to well-traveled routes when walking outside. They’re more likely to be clear and well-lit.
- Watch your step. When getting out of your car, or stepping from the inside to outside, watch where you are stepping. Make sure you have good, stable footing before leaving solid, dry ground.
- Be aware of conditions. It may not seem cold enough for slippery surfaces, but beware shady places where black ice may be hiding.
One way to increase the risk for falls is to be caught unaware. That first icy day or snowfall can happen before you know it, so being prepared before it comes can keep you safe.
Make sure you have supplies ready. Pull out your show shovels, de-icer, and snow boots before inclement weather arrives, and keep them in convenient and easily to access places. Rushing around to gather supplies after the fact is not only a hassle, but it may cause some to take a shortcut here or there to save time – increasing the risk of unsafe conditions.
Keep your walkways clear. Shoveling snow can be a chore, and it’s important to do it safely. If you can’t clear your walkways yourself, there are services that can do it for you, or even a neighborhood kid looking for some extra spending money.
Despite our best efforts, falls do happen, so be prepared. Dress warmly and carry your mobile phone – even if you’re only going outside for a couple of minutes – just in case you need to call for help.
We wish you all a happy (and fall-free) holiday with your family and friends, and we hope these tips and reminders will help you stay safe this winter season.