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Winter weather safety: Walk like a penguin on ice and snow

Winter ice and snow are beautiful, but they can also mean slippery sidewalks and parking lots, too.

Here are some tips from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration for staying safe in icy winter weather:

Walking on snow or ice is especially treacherous and wearing proper footwear is essential. A pair of well-insulated boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking during or after a winter storm. Keeping a pair of rubber over-shoes with good treads which fit over your street shoes is a good idea during the winter months.

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.

When walking on a sidewalk which has not been cleared and you must walk in the street, walk against the traffic and as close to the curb as you can.

Be on the lookout for vehicles which may have lost traction and are slipping towards you. Be aware that approaching vehicles may not be able to stop at crosswalks or traffic signals.

At night, wear bright clothing or reflective gear, as dark clothing will make it difficult for motorists to see you.

During the daytime, wear sunglasses to help you see better and avoid hazards.

Believe it or not, a good tip for walking on icy surfaces is to walk like a penguin.

  • Point your feet out slightly like a penguin. Spreading your feet out slightly while walking on ice increases your center of gravity.
  • Bend slightly and walk flat-footed with your center of gravity directly over the feet as much as possible.
  • Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance. Beware if you are carrying a heavy backpack or other load—your sense of balance will be off. 
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