During the winter months, it can be very dangerous trying to navigate on sidewalks, driveways, streets, parking lots, or just about any hard surface if there’s snow and/or ice. Ice is great in our soft drinks and ice teas, but not so good when we’re trying to maneuver and you’re slipping and sliding and lose your footing.

Years ago, my father took a very hard fall with just a little bit of ice on the sidewalk. He lived in Phoenix, Arizona at the time, so even the warm weather cities can even be hazardous during those cold times of the year. For seniors especially, these types of falls can really take their toll and cause serious injury or even death.

According to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, there are various things we can do to help to minimize those potential slip, trip, and falls during winter conditions:

Take care in risky locations

Many areas are risky or unsafe in the winter, as it is not always possible to see icy spots. When getting in or out of a vehicle, first check to see if the ground is slippery.

Be cautious and allow for extra time

Being in a hurry and scrambling into the service station for a gallon of milk can be asking for trouble.

Change your walking style for greater stability

Use a slower and wider gait to better protect against falls.

Dress appropriately

Though it may seem harmless to go out to get the mail in your robe, doing so increases your chances of injury or exposure if you take a tumble on an icy driveway or walk. Wear gloves, warm clothing that covers you well, and footwear with treads and good traction — even consider purchasing ice grippers for your shoes.

Bring a cellphone

If you should fall, you will be glad you brought your phone along to call a neighbor, spouse, or emergency medical help.

Clear your walks

Even if this requires asking for help from others to accomplish, it is worth the trouble to prevent a fall.

Remember this important fact from the National Safety Council – slips, trips, and falls are a major cause of preventable injuries and deaths in the workplace; only motor vehicle incidents cause more worker fatalities. Their website also has additional information and training related to slip, trip, and fall accidents.

Please be safe and enjoy your winter.

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