Ice, Snow and Sleet Safety


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 (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s