The Penguin Shuffle

With Winter upon us here are some safety tips for walking in the Winter.

Walking to and from parking lots and between buildings during the winter requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. We often forget how dangerous slipping and falling can be. No matter how well the snow and ice is removed from streets and sidewalks, you will probably encounter some slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter. It is important to continually be aware of the dangers of ice and slippery surfaces. When walking in winter snow or ice, keep the following in mind:

Wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice; boots made of rubber and neoprene composite are best. During bad weather, avoid boots or
shoes with smooth soles and heels.

Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles; use the vehicle for support.

Walk in designated walkways as much as possible. Taking shortcuts over snow piles and other frozen areas can be hazardous. Look ahead when you walk; a snow- or ice-covered sidewalk or driveway, especially if on a hill, may require travel along its grassy edge for traction.

Do the Penguin Shuffle
It might sound silly, but it works for penguins! Adopting a “penguin posture” helps widen your center of gravity, making it easier to walk (and harder to fall) when walking on snow or ice. Here’s how:
  • Point your feet out.
  • Keep your neck straight.
  • Go slowly.
  • Take short steps or shuffle for stability. Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance (don’t keep your hands in your pockets where they are unavailable to help maintain balance).
  • Bend slightly, walk flat-footed with your center of gravity directly over the feet as much as possible.
  • Wear a heavy, bulky coat that will cushion you if you should fall.
  • It’s OK to wear golf shoes or cleats to increase traction, or to use ski poles or a walking stick to keep your balance in particularly bad ice or snow
  • Try to avoid landing on your knees, wrists, or spine; try to fall on a fleshy part of your body, such as your side.
  • Try to relax your muscles if you fall; you’ll injure yourself less if your are relaxed.
  • If you fall, fall with sequential contacts at your thigh, hip, and shoulder to avoid using your arms to protect against breakage.
  • If you do fall, keep your hands free and extended for balance and to help break your fall.

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