Winter weather can be no fun to walk in. From ice and snow to slippery sleet and slush, winter conditions are enough to send you tumbling at a moment’s notice. Still, you cannot stay indoors from December through March. So the next best thing is to learn how to safely walk on slippery sidewalks and roads.
The biggest risk of winter weather walking is slipping and falling. The fact is that walking on a slippery surface is dangerous for anyone. Sometimes, it seems as though the harder you try to be safe, the more likely you are to lose your footing.
GC Tech is a Salt Lake City, Utah company that makes a state-of-the-art men’s shoe cover. Their shoe covers have a no-slip rubber sole to keep the wearer upright in bad weather.
That being said, GC Tech offers five safety tips for walking in winter weather:
1. Wear Shoes with Treads
The first thing is to wear shoes with measurable treads. Rubber treads are best because they provide some extra grip. Treads can minimize the chances of slipping on snow, sleet, slush, and generally wet pavement by channeling water away. They may not offer much of an advantage on a smooth sheet of ice, though.
Definitely avoid wearing dress shoes and anything with heels. Those kinds of shoes are fine for indoors, but they are bad news outside. Dress shoes with smooth soles do not channel away water, snow, and slush. As for heels, they cut down the amount of surface area in contact with the ground. When going outside in winter weather, leave the dress shoes and heels indoors.
2. Walk with Toes Pointed Out
If you are forced to walk across an icy patch, your best bet is to slow down and point your toes slightly outward. Also, relax your speed. Take short, shuffling steps and extend your hands out from your sides. All these actions will combine to help you keep your center of gravity balanced and your feet underneath you.
3. Use a Side Step
Walking with your toes pointed outward – a.k.a. the penguin walk – can be uncomfortable. It can also be impossible if you suffer from certain orthopedic conditions. In such cases, walking with a side step is another option. Once again, the key here is to relax your knees and hold your arms out from your body to improve balance.
Side stepping is a great option for walking through snow and slush. It is an amazingly effective strategy for walking through slushy parking lots. When you are side stepping, you are stopping your momentum every time you put one foot down and pick up the other. That loss of momentum goes a long way toward keeping you upright.
4. Use Grass to Your Advantage
If you are walking down the sidewalk, as opposed to through a parking lot, you may be able to use grass to your advantage. Obviously, this tactic generally doesn’t work in the middle of downtown where concrete rules the day. But making your way through a residential neighborhood is another matter. Walking in the grass just gives you more traction.
5. Utilize Kitty Litter
Some people carry a little plastic bag of kitty litter with them during the winter. Spreading it in front of you as you walk can provide the necessary traction to prevent slippage. Just don’t use road salt or non-salt deicer as both types of products can ruin your shoes.
Winter walking can be a tricky proposition. Hopefully, the tips you read in this post will keep you upright until spring arrives.