Tips To Avoid Winter Slips
Snow, ice, and cold temperatures create hazardous conditions outdoors—but winter weather can also increase the risk of a fall indoors. We have some tips to help you keep your footing wherever you go this winter.
Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injury for adults who are 45 years old or older, and winter conditions increase the risk of a fall. We know that an exercise program focused on balance and strength can help reduce fall risks. When winter arrives, there are extra precautions we can take outdoors—and indoors—to keep our footing in slippery conditions.
- Select proper winter footwear that provides stability and good traction.
- Before you go out, bundle up to keep your muscles warm and relaxed. Tense muscles can make it more difficult for you to keep your balance.
- Exercise caution when you get out of your car. Put both feet on the ground, and make sure your footing is stable before you stand up.
- When you have the option, stay on cleared sidewalks and paths. Be extra cautious on snowy stairs and sloping ground.
- Take extra time and shorter steps in slippery conditions. When you point your toes slightly outward as you step, you will maintain more stable support. Shuffling with “penguin steps” over slippery surfaces can also help you to maintain your balance.
- Stay alert for black ice, and test the surface if you are unsure. Black ice can look safe, but it is extremely slippery.
- Maintain a clear driveway and sidewalks around your home. Stock up on salt before the snow flies, but remember that salt will only melt snow in temperatures above 20 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops lower, sand and ash will provide better traction—though they won’t melt snow or ice.
- Use care at building entrances and doorways. Melting ice and snow from boots and shoes can create slick surfaces around entryways. This can mean icy spots just outside of doorways, and wet slippery floors inside. At home, make a habit of knocking snow off your shoes before you go inside.
- We have an additional safety tip for dog owners. If you walk a large dog on a leash and your dog suddenly breaks into a run, don’t cling to the leash. Drop it. Being pulled down an icy sidewalk while trying to control your pet can lead to a fractured wrist or other fall-related injuries.
Following these prevention tips can help you avoid winter spills and the injuries that go with them.
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