A slip can cause a significant injury just like a fall.

Walking on ice and snow is one of the most dangerous things you may have to do during the winter. Walking on ice or snow is just like driving on ice or snow. You can lose control of your body just as fast as a driver loses control of a car. On walkways, there is visible ice snow, black ice, and ice under the snow. If you have a choice of walking on ice or snow you may want to consider walking in snow for better traction. Check for hidden ice under the snow. Be sure to wear shoes or boots that will give you good traction in the ice and snow. Just as with ice and snow outside, wet shoes can quickly cause a fall or slip. When you walk inside onto a non-carpeted surface it may be very slippery if the bottom of your shoes are wet. Driving a vehicle in the winter presents more opportunities for acute injuries. Use extreme caution when entering or exiting a vehicle. Before exiting a vehicle look at the surface for obvious snow or ice and then check the surface for black ice with your foot. Be prepared in the event your vehicle becomes disabled. Walking on a highway or road can present a significant risk for falls and slips. Be sure you are prepared to shelter in place in your vehicle. It may be a safer place and make it easier for people to find you.

Obviously, the winter weather presents challenges for everyone. Make a plan and be prepared to be as safe as you can be in the winter months. Dress in layers for warmth. If you routinely go outside in the winter, make sure someone knows your routine and if you are going to vary from it let someone know. If you do not exercise routinely you may want to consider consulting your health care provider before clearing snow or ice. Be prepared if you need to call for help, if you have a cell phone keep it on you and within easy reach. If possible, do not put it in something you carry because if you fall it may slip too far away from you to reach if you incur an injury. A clever idea is to keep an air horn, whistle, and small bright flashlight in your coat pocket. Remember: hypothermia and frost bite can happen quickly. Seek medical attention if your body temperature drops or there are other signs and symptoms of hypothermia or believe you have frost bite, Financial safety, if you have an accident are you financially covered?

For more information about winter safety, reach out to me at marianne@rls-seniors.com.

By Marianne Dougherty, Real Life Solutions