Falls account for more than 1 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 Tirado, CAE, Snow & Ice Management Association executive director. “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 safe winter walking tips:
• Wear proper footwear, which 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.
• 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 on snow or ice on sidewalks or in parking lots, walk consciously. Instead of looking down, look ahead 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.
• Make sure you can hear. 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 wary 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.