Walk safely this winter
The safety experts at Kalispell Regional Healthcare share the following tips for safe winter walking – whether you are navigating a parking lot, walking for fitness or just crossing the street.
Dress for safety
- Wear shoes that provide traction on snow or ice. Avoid plastic or leather soles.
- Add extra traction with adjustable cleats that strap over your shoes or boots.
- Choose bright outerwear so drivers can easily see you. If you regularly walk at night, add a reflective vest or light.
- Snow, wind and fog can decrease visibility. Give extra space to vehicles and other pedestrians.
- Put your phone away, especially when crossing the street.
- Watch the temperature. When it’s near freezing, melted snow and slush can quickly turn to ice.
- When entering buildings, remove as much snow as possible from your shoes. Watch for slippery conditions created by melted ice and snow from others’ shoes.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
- Take shorter steps and walk at a slower pace.
- Bend slightly and keep your center of gravity directly over your feet.
- Keep both hands free for balance rather than in your pockets or carrying heavy loads.
- Use handrails when available.
- Step – don’t jump – from vehicles or equipment.
- If a walkway is completely covered with ice, try walking along its grassy edge for traction.
- If you start to fall, toss anything you are carrying. Protect yourself instead of what’s in your hands.
If you do experience a fall or minor injury, be prepared by knowing the nearest urgent care location.