Falls account for more than one million injuries in the U.S. annually. There are four types of walking accidents with the most common being the slip and fall. That's the type of fall that happens when you fall due a surface not cleared of snow or ice.
"Every winter the hazards of driving in snow and icy conditions are noted, but rarely is walking on snow and ice addressed," said Martin B. Tirado, CAE, Executive Director of the Snow & Ice Management Association. "Slipping and falling while walking accounts for a large number of winter-related injuries and can have an impact on the quality of life for the injured person."
SIMA, the national nonprofit organization representing the snow removal industry, has some tips on safe winter walking.
- 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, and use your toes to 'grip'.
- Accessorize to see and be seen. Wear sunglasses so that you can see in the reflective light of the snow. Also, wear a bright coat or scarf so that drivers can easily see you.
- Plan ahead. While walking on snow or ice on sidewalks or in parking lots, walk consciously. Instead of lonly looking down, occasionally pause and scan from left to right to ensure you are not in the way of vehicles or other hazards.
- Don't jump or slide. Always focus on keeping your feet on the ground as much as possible while walking slowly. Sliding sounds like fun but can result in serious injury.
- 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.
Stay safe out there!