There’s no doubt that winter can be one of the most dangerous seasons. Riddled with fast-changing conditions, plummeting temperatures, and frequent snow storms, it’s the perfect combination of conditions for slips and falls.

It’s important to be aware of the surfaces you are walking on at all times.  Snow covered surfaces can be uneven and, if left untreated, can hold hidden dangers beneath them like ice or other objects.  With this in mind, there are several ways you can reduce your risk of slips, falls, and potential injuries.

Best Ways to Keep Your Balance

Joseph Baumgarden, physical therapist and doctor of physical therapy, at Kenmore Mercy Hospital’s AthletiCare Department, has a few tips to help you get a grip during icy conditions.

Wear the Right Footwear – Appropriate footwear will help reduce your risk of a slip and/or fall. Avoid boots and shoes that have smooth surfaces on the soles and heels. Instead, wear footwear with non-slip rubber or neoprene grooved soles. This will provide you with extra traction.

Plan Ahead – When possible, give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Use extra care when getting in and out of vehicles and buildings, and keep on designated walkways that have been shoveled and salted.

Walk Like a Penguin – Walk with your feet slightly toed out and shoulder width apart. Take smaller steps at a slower pace with your knees slightly bent. Try to spread your weight equally throughout your feet.

Know How to Fall – Knowing how to fall correctly can help reduce your risk of injury. If you start to fall, try to relax your muscles. Avoid landing on your knees, wrists, or back.  Wearing thick clothing can help to cushion your fall.

Although winter presents its own set of challenges, don’t let them get you down.  Take the extra time to safely navigate walkways, and try to enjoy the beauty of the season along the way.