Ohio’s beautiful winter weather is scheduled to hit soon — and can prove to be hazardous to many. Walking safely on ice and snow can be challenging, but there are things you can do to help prevent falls or injury.

Here are some tips on walking safely on ice and snow.

1. Give yourself extra time.

Make sure you plan ahead and give yourself more time not just for your commute, but also for walking in winter weather. Do not assume a clear path for walking will be available. By allowing yourself enough time you will ensure you don’t rush, which is how many falls happen.

2. Wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice.

Winter is not the best time to wear your favorite pair of high heels. Wear flat-soled shoes. Footwear made of rubber will provide better traction than plastic or leather soles. If you need to, bring a change of shoes along with you, wearing the safer pair of boots for your walk from your vehicle to the building. Then, once safely inside you can change your shoes. Do not do this immediately at the entrance of the building. Often this is a place where it can be slippery due to melted snow tracked in by others.

3. Take short steps or shuffle for stability.

Use the mantra: waddle like a penguin. Don’t take big steps or rush. Keep your weight forward by bending slightly to keep your center of gravity over your feet. Keep your feet slightly spread out to even your weight distribution. Always keep your hands out of your pockets–wear your gloves or mittens! This helps you maintain your stability when you walk. Be prepared to fall–but do NOT use outstretched arms to brace yourself. Try to fall on your hip, side or shoulder. Tuck your head to avoid hitting it on the ice.

4. Walk on designated walkways if possible.

Try to avoid areas where snow and ice removal is not possible. Look ahead on your path. If you notice a sidewalk or parking lot is completely covered with ice, try to travel along its grassy edge if possible for improved traction. Do not text while walking. If you are looking down at your phone, you will be distracted and could miss seeing a patch of ice.

5. Use extra caution when entering and exiting your vehicle and climbing steps.

Be careful when shifting your weight onto your foot as you exit your vehicle. Use your vehicle for support and maintain contact. Do not grab objects such as your coffee as you are exiting. Exit your vehicle then retrieve items. Use handrails for support when climbing and descending steps. Take steps slowly and avoid rushing.

More than 50% of falls on snow and ice result in serious injuries.

One third of slip and fall injuries on ice occur in parking lots. By paying special attention to walking safely on ice and snow you can avoid slipping and falling. In the case of a fall be sure to contact your doctor (if it is not an emergency). If you suspect you have broken a bone or hit your head it may be a good idea to go to your nearest emergency room.

The main thing to remember is to be safe!

If you do experience pain or injury from a fall, such as a sprain, we are here to help you with your recovery. We offer many services such as fall prevention and home assessmentsGive us a call at 419-678-OHIO.