Less daylight, damp and decaying leaves on the pavements and icy conditions can make walking even short distances perilous. And while most winter falls will, hopefully, result in nothing more than a bruised ego, some can lead to more serious and lasting injuries.
Yet, by taking some common-sense precautions and staying vigilant to potential hazards, you can avoid this most common of winter accidents.
- Wear footwear that provides grip and traction on snow and ice and avoid smooth-soled shoes or boots.
- Walk slowly and carefully with your head up (don’t lean forward) and take small steps to maintain your centre of balance and walk as flat-footed as possible in very icy areas.
- Avoid uneven surfaces if possible as well as steps or curbs with ice on them and test the path for slickness by sliding your shoe or boot on it before proceeding. Use routes that are well-lit and maintained and intended for pedestrians. If you notice that a pavement or pathway is icy avoid it.
- Take extra care when getting in and out of vehicles and use the vehicle for extra support and balance and watch out for any black ice.
- Be vigilant when entering buildings as melting snow and ice from footwear can make floors slippery and remember to dry your own footwear on the floor mats provided.
- Avoid carrying items if you can possibly do so or walking with your hands in your pockets as this can reduce your ability to catch yourself and break your fall if you lose your balance. Instead, consider using a rucksack to carry items and wearing gloves to keep your hands free.
- Report any untreated surfaces to your council or local authority to prevent risk of injury to others.
Remember, weather conditions can change rapidly during the winter months so make sure you keep up with the latest weather forecasts. For the most reliable updates on weather in your region, visit: www.metoffice.gov.uk.