How to Walk on Icy Surfaces

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Elevated surfaces like bridges and sidewalks are the first things to freeze in an ice storm, and walking can be tricky and dangerous.

Some experts suggest you wear rubber-soled boots, walk "like a penguin", be aware of where you are stepping and take it slow.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says 30,500 Americans were injured in work-related accidents involving ice, sleet or snow in 2015.

But falls are just as likely for people trying to walk on public and private sidewalks and parking lots after an ice storm.

Common injuries caused by slipping in icy conditions can include:
Back, neck and shoulder injuries
Fractures
Concussions
Dislocations of joints
Muscle strains
Severe cuts and bruises


The Snow and Ice Management Association has these tips for safely walking on icy surfaces, to avoid injury:

Wear proper footwear. Proper footwear should place the entire foot on the surface of the ground and have visible treads. Avoid a smooth sole and opt for a heavy treaded shoe with a flat bottom.

Plan ahead. While walking on snow or ice on sidewalks or in parking lots, walk consciously. Instead of looking down, look up and see where your feet will move next to anticipate ice or an uneven surface. Occasionally scan from left to right to ensure you are not in the way of vehicles or other hazards.

Use your eyes and ears. While seeing the environment is important, you also want to be sure you can hear approaching traffic and other noises. Avoid listening to music or engaging in conversation that may prevent you from hearing oncoming traffic or snow removal equipment.

Anticipate ice. Be weary of thin sheets of ice that may appear as wet pavement (black ice). Often ice will appear in the morning, in shady spots or where the sun shines during the day and melted snow refreezes at night.

Walk steps slowly. When walking down steps, be sure to grip handrails firmly and plant your feet securely on each step.

Enter a building carefully. When you get to your destination such as school, work, shopping center, etc., be sure to look at the floor as you enter the building. The floor may be wet with melted snow and ice.

Be careful when you shift your weight. When stepping off a curb or getting into a car, be careful since shifting your weight may cause an imbalance and result in a fall.

Avoid taking shortcuts. Shortcuts are a good idea if you are in a hurry, but may be a bad idea if there is snow and ice on the ground. A shortcut path may be treacherous because it is likely to be located where snow and ice removal is not possible.

Look up. Be careful about what you walk under.  Injuries also can result from falling snow/ice as it blows, melts, or breaks away from awnings, buildings, etc.

 


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