With winter on the way, here are a few reminders concerning safely walking in ice, snow and sleet…
Walking on Ice… and other slippery surfaces
- No matter how well the ice & snow are removed from campus streets & sidewalks, people will encounter slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter.
- Many cold weather injuries are the result of falls on ice-covered streets and sidewalks.
- Getting around in icy conditions calls for planning, caution, and a little common sense.
What to Wear
- Dress warmly and wear boots with non-skid soles. (Avoid plastic and leather soles.)
- Wear a bright scarf or hat or reflective gear so drivers can see you.
- Keep warm, but make sure you can hear what’s going on around you.
- Whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t block your vision or make it hard for you to hear traffic.
- During the day, wear sunglasses to help you see better and avoid hazards.
How to Walk
- Plan ahead and give yourself enough time.
- When walking on steps, always use the handrailings and plant your feet firmly on each step.
- When walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway, take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction.
- Bending your knees a little and taking slower and shorter steps increases traction and can greatly reduce your chances of falling.
- It also helps to stop occasionally to break momentum.
- Approach cleared streets & sidewalks with caution. Look out for “black ice.”
- Dew or water vapor can freeze on cold surfaces, forming an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement.
- It can happen early in the morning or in areas shaded from the sun.
- A heavy backpack or other load can challenge your sense of balance.
- Try not to carry too much—you need to leave your hands and arms free to better balance yourself.
- Be prepared to fall and try to avoid using your arms to break your fall.
- If you fall backward, make a conscious effort to tuck your chin so your head won’t hit the ground with full force.
- When entering a building, remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can.
- Notice that floors and stairs may be wet & slippery—walk carefully.
- Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles. Use the vehicle for support.
Where to Walk
- Walk on sidewalks if possible.
- If sidewalks are covered with snow & ice, one option is to walk along their grassy edges for traction.
- If you must walk in the street, walk against the flow of traffic, as close to the curb as you can.
- Taking shortcuts through areas where snow & ice removal is not feasible can be hazardous.
Avoid Areas with Falling Ice
- As if there wasn’t enough danger of falling on ice, you must be aware of ice that might fall on YOU!
- Watch out for: Icicles hanging from eaves, sheets of ice on sloping roofs, and tree branches covered with ice.
- They can fall quickly and silently.
Dealing with Traffic
- Before stepping off the curb, make sure all cars and trucks have come to a complete stop.
- Due to poor road conditions, motorists may not be able to stop or slow down for pedestrians.
- Be on the lookout for vehicles sliding in your direction.
- Vehicles should yield to snow removal equipment in streets and parking lots.
Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald (firstname.lastname@example.org)