Whooaaa, it’s slippery out there! From icy front steps, to slushy driveways and water pooling around entrances there are slip situations everywhere! We can’t control Mother Nature but we can try our best to control our awareness of these situations. Let’s take a look to keep ourselves safe from slips this winter, and all year long!
First things first, just like when you build a house, you need a strong foundation for walking too, with safe footwear. Winter boots are specifically made to help with gripping slick surfaces and often have a high top that supports the ankles as well. Look for boots that are specifically made for winter weather, with thick non-slip tread, rubber soles, wide heels and waterproof and insulated material to keep your feet warn and dry. If your boots are several years old or you notice the tread is worn off, it is probably a sign they are no longer safe. You can also buy relatively cheap “grippers” that secure on to footwear (like boots losing some tread) to help add some extra security as well.
Secondly, if you use any type of support tool like a cane, walker, crutches or any other device, those need to be safe too! The regular grips they come with might not be enough to keep you safe or may slip on wet flooring. Many drugstores and medical supply stores have picks and other winter weather accessories to keep you extra safe during this slippery season.
Thirdly, we suggest that you think twice, step once. What we mean is take extra time to look at your surroundings. If in a parking lot look for dry areas or places you can see clear black top. At home make sure your boots haven’t left a puddle on the linoleum and even coming in and out of stores that may have lots of boot slush. Take time to see what your safest route is. If you look out and your back steps are glare ice, think twice before just chancing it. One fall could be all it takes to zap some of our independence. Thinking twice might save you from a broken arm, hip or worse. Places we don’t commonly think about include the ground where we step getting in and out of the car. In fact, over 25 percent of ice- and snow-related falls occur in parking lots. Even with the best plows, salt and sanding, conditions can change fast. Think twice and always look for water, snow and ice.
Lastly, for your safety and all those around you, go slowly! Who cares how long it takes you! If going fast means getting hurt it is not worth it. Taking your time to be safe isn’t just for kids, or elderly people, it’s for everyone. Take short, flat foot (put your heels down) and slow steps. Tip toeing really fast across an icy parking lot isn’t going to get you anywhere fast if you fall and get injured.
Other tips to keep us all safe while out and about this winter include: avoid using a phone or texting while walking, step straight down out of cars and off curbs, help report icy areas, and always wear safe footwear. Lending a helping hand is always helpful this time of year. Help a neighbor clear their drives and walkways, add extra salt and sand for those who will be passing by, help those most vulnerable by assisting them while walking, and better yet, drop them off at the door and pick them up so they don’t have to navigate the icy and slick areas.
Everyone needs to think safety first when it comes to slips, trips and falls during this wet, cold and icy time of year. To best protect yourself remember this winter to get some safe shoes, stay aware of the conditions, practice your penguin walking with slow- flat-foot steps and if possible be on the lookout for those around you too. Let’s all do our best this winter to stay slip safe!