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Preventing Icy Surfaces Injuries

March 4, 2024

Preventing Icy Surfaces Injuries


Icy surfaces can be extremely dangerous. Slips and falls are a major cause of injury during the winter months. As I go about my daily activities, I need to be vigilant to avoid any accidents on icy sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and other surfaces. Preventing injuries from icy conditions requires preparation, proper footwear, and cautious movement.

Dangers of Icy Surfaces

Icy surfaces pose a few key dangers:

  • Slipping – Icy areas greatly reduce traction and friction between my shoes and the ground, increasing the risk of slipping. Even a thin layer of ice on sidewalks or roads can causeslip-hazards.

  • Falling – After slipping on ice, balance becomes difficult. Falls often happen very quickly on icy patches. The risk of falling is higher when carrying items, rushing, or not paying attention.

  • Injuries – Falls on ice can lead to painful injuries, including sprains, strains, fractures, scrapes, cuts, bruises, head injuries, and back injuries. The elderly and very young are especially susceptible to injuries from falls.

Preventing Slips on Ice

To avoid slips and falls, I need to be proactive and prepared when dealing with icy conditions:

Wear Proper Footwear

  • Boots with grip – Wearing boots, shoes, or cleats with good rubber soles and plenty of grip and traction is essential. The deeper the tread on the sole, the better. I avoid smooth, worn out soles.

  • Ice cleats – For extremely icy conditions, I use removable ice cleats that strap onto my boots for extra stability and traction. These dig into the ice and prevent slips.

  • Take smaller steps – I take shorter, slower steps on ice to maintain stability and balance. Rushing or large strides increase chances of slipping.

Exercise Caution and Focus

  • Watch where I step – I carefully watch where I am stepping to look for any potentially slippery areas. Taking my eyes off the ground even for a second can lead to a fall.

  • Avoid distractions – When dealing with ice, I avoid distractions like cell phones that take my eyes off the walking surface. Full attention to conditions prevents accidents.

  • Bend slightly – A slight crouch creates a wider, more stable base to catch myself if I lose balance. Locking knees on ice makes falls more likely.

  • Use handrails – I use handrails whenever available, on stairs, ramps, porches, or anywhere that ice could be present. Handrails provide stability if I slip.

  • Take it slow – Rushing increases risks. I move carefully on icy areas, taking my time, to ensure solid and safe footing.

Prepare Surfaces and Carry Tools

  • De-ice walkways – I regularly de-ice and salt walkways near my home to improve traction. Keeping high-traffic areas as slip-free as possible is crucial.

  • Carry tools – When away from home, I carry items like pocket salt/sand for extra traction and a small ice scraper to chip off slippery spots as needed.

  • Ask for help – If an area looks too treacherous to pass alone, I ask someone for assistance crossing it safely or choose an alternate route.

Recovering Safely After a Fall

If I do fall on ice, I remember to:

  • Avoid standing up quickly – I avoid moving right away. I take deep breaths and mentally check for any injuries before attempting to stand.

  • Roll over, don’t sit up – To get up, I roll over onto my hands and knees first rather than sitting up quickly. This prevents strain.

  • Get off the ice – I carefully crawl/slide on my stomach off the icy surface and onto a grittier area before trying to stand. This gives my feet more traction.

  • Use support – I use a railing, wall, car bumper, or whatever support I can to slowly and gently get back on my feet.

  • Check for injury – Once up, I check for any pain, swelling, cuts, etc. I seek medical care if the fall resulted in noticeable injury.

Staying safe on ice requires prep work, vigilance, patience, and the right footwear. Paying attention to conditions, taking my time, and using aids like handrails can help prevent painful and dangerous winter falls. A few simple precautions go a long way towards avoiding icy hazards.

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