Take steps to reduce risk of falls on snow and iceWinter weather means using extra caution for drivers on the roadways. But what about pedestrians using the walkways?
Winter weather means using extra caution for drivers on the roadways. But what about pedestrians using the walkways?
“It is important for people – young and old – to recognize the hazards of slippery walks and driveways,” Dr. Gregory Kays said. He is the physician director of Emergency Services at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing.
Each year, dozens of injuries are incurred and treated in the ER due to falls on slippery surfaces.
There are several precautions that help reduce the risk of falling when slippery conditions exist.
Here are some helpful hints.
• Wear boots or overshoes with grip soles such as rubber and neoprene composite. Slick leather or plastic soles on shoes will definitely increase the risk of slipping.
• When getting out of a vehicle, look down at the surface. If it is coated with ice, consider parking in a different place.
• Use special care when entering or exiting vehicles. Use the vehicle for support. Before standing, brace yourself with the vehicle door and seat back, which will provide some stability.
• Step – do not jump – from vehicles and equipment.
• Don't walk with your hands in your pockets. This reduces the ability to use your arms for balance if you do slip.
• Take short shuffling steps in very icy areas.
• Don't carry or swing heavy loads. Large boxes, cases or purses may cause you to lose balance when you are walking.
• When walking, curl your toes under and walk as flat-footed as possible.
• Don't step on uneven surfaces. Avoid curbs with ice on them.
• Keep your full attention on walking – digging in your pocketbook or backpack while walking on ice is dangerous.
• Test potentially slick areas by tapping your foot on them.
• Keep walkways clear of debris, water, ice and slippery materials.