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Preventing Slips and Falls on Ice

March 4, 2024

Preventing Slips and Falls on Ice


Walking on icy sidewalks and driveways can be extremely dangerous. As someone who has fallen on ice many times, I understand how scary and painful these falls can be. In this article, I will provide tips on preventing slips and falls during icy conditions. My goal is to help readers stay safe this winter.

Check the Forecast and Be Prepared

  • I make sure to check the weather forecast daily during cold months. Knowing when freezing rain or snow is expected allows me to plan ahead.
  • If icy conditions are forecasted, I stock up on ice melt and sand/salt mixtures to spread on walkways. Having these on hand is key to prevention.
  • I also check my winter boots to ensure they have good traction. Worn treads significantly reduce grip on ice. Upgrading to boots with fresh tread makes walking safer.

Pay Attention to Surfaces When Outdoors

  • I am extra cautious when stepping outdoors after icy weather. I visually inspect surfaces to look for ice patches.
  • When walking on sidewalks and driveways, I deliberately check for glossy appearances or puddled water that could be frozen.
  • I also pay attention to areas that tend to ice up more frequently, like sections in the shade or low spots that collect water.
  • Being vigilant and not taking surfaces for granted helps me avoid falling.

Take Slow, Careful Steps

  • Rushing while walking on icy surfaces can easily lead to slipping. I consciously take each step slowly and deliberately.
  • I keep my steps short in length to maintain stability. Stretching my leg out too far shifts my center of gravity and balance.
  • I point my feet slightly outward when walking on ice. This provides a wider base of support under my body.
  • I also bend my knees a bit when stepping. Having a relaxed, flexed posture improves balance control.

Use Traction Aids and Modified Footwear

  • Attachable traction aids like Yaktrax can be slipped over boots to grip ice. These provide metal coils or chains underfoot for added stability.
  • Changing out my boot laces for coiled compression laces also supplies more traction. The textured surface grips ice better than smooth laces.
  • Switching to boots with a lugged sole designed for winter conditions improves my footing on ice as well. Lugs act like small suction cups.

Hold the Railing When Using Steps

  • Iced over steps and stairs are incredibly slippery. Whenever possible, I use handrails or banisters when ascending or descending icy steps.
  • Firmly grasping the railing provides stabilization if my foot slips out. Rails also give me an anchor point to catch myself and recover my balance.
  • If no railing exists, I keep one hand hovering close to the wall or available support in case I need to grab it. Having a support within reach makes me feel more secure.

Don’t Rush While Deicing Surfaces

  • Trying to quickly deice large areas often leads to missing spots. I focus on fully clearing high traffic areas like sidewalks and porches.
  • Working in smaller sections allows me to thoroughly deice each zone. I apply a generous amount of ice melt, let it sit briefly to activate, then double check for leftover slippery patches.
  • Rushing this process results in partially cleared areas that can still be dangerous. Patience pays off when deicing. Slowly and completely clearing designated zones prevents future falls.

Staying sure footed on icy surfaces requires vigilance, preparation, and patience. While not every slip can be avoided, implementing these prevention tips has significantly reduced my winter falls. I feel much more confident and safe walking outdoors during cold weather as a result. Staying informed, paying attention, taking my time, and utilizing traction aids has made all the difference in keeping me upright. I hope these tips do the same for you and others this winter.

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