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How to Walk on Ice

If you live somewhere with cold winters, it’s almost impossible to avoid walking on ice. Slipping on ice might not seem like a big deal, but it can lead to serious injuries. There are some tricks you can use to help navigate your way the next time you’re stuck in an arctic blast.


EditWalking the Right Way

  1. Move slowly. Dashing across ice is just asking to fall. Instead, walk slowly so your body has time to adjust to the slick surface. You'll use less force as you move, which means you won't get as hurt if you do fall. [1]
    Walk on Ice Step 1.jpg
  2. Walk with small steps. If your feet are too far apart, you'll have trouble keeping your balance on the ice. Take a small step so your foot is only a couple of inches ahead of the other. Then, repeat with the other foot. It'll take longer, but you'll be much safer. [2]
    Walk on Ice Step 2.jpg
  3. Shuffle forward. Keep your feet about a foot apart. Then, slowly shuffle one foot at a time as you walk. This boosts your center of gravity, so you can stay steady even when the surface isn’t. [3]
    Walk on Ice Step 3.jpg
    • Picture the way penguins wade. Try to mimic that as much as possible.
  4. Stand up straight. Good posture makes a ton of difference when walking on ice. Straighten your back so it's lined up with your legs. This helps control your balance. [4]
    Walk on Ice Step 4.jpg
    • Keep your arms at your sides. Moving your arms too much can make you lose your balance.
  5. Hold on to something. Sometimes you need extra support. Trekking poles make it easier to walk over ice because they can grip the ice and help you stay balanced. If you don't have a pole, try a cane. [5]
    Walk on Ice Step 5.jpg
    • If you don't have a pole or cane handy, check if there's anything nearby. Railings, ledges, and walls can help in a tight spot.

EditAvoiding the Danger Zones

  1. Watch out for black ice. Black ice is sneaky. It is a thin layer of clear ice that blends in with the ground. It looks like an ice-free surface, but it's a major cause of ice-related injuries. [6]
    Walk on Ice Step 6.jpg
    • After a snowstorm, walk slowly, just in case there's black ice. Test the ground before stepping with your full weight.
    • Avoid parking lots and other areas with asphalt, where it’s easy for the ice to camouflage.
  2. Avoid slopes and hills. Flat surfaces are much safer than hills. Icy hills can’t hold your weight, so it's easier to fall. Avoid walking on icy hills if possible. [7]
    Walk on Ice Step 7.jpg
  3. Be careful on melting ice. Warmer weather doesn’t necessarily mean safer conditions. When ice is melting, it becomes even slipperier. If you notice that the ice is starting to melt, walk carefully to avoid tripping. [8]
    Walk on Ice Step 8.jpg
  4. Pay attention to your surroundings. When walking in icy areas, make sure to keep an eye on the ground. Ice usually isn’t distributed evenly, so it can surprise you if you’re not paying attention. Keep an eye out for ice up ahead, so you can adjust your pace in time. [9]
    Walk on Ice Step 9.jpg

EditDressing Appropriately

  1. Wear shoes with traction. When walking over ice, the right shoe can make all the difference. Shoes with traction give you a firmer grip, so you're less likely to slide. Think sneakers or boots with rubber soles, or cleats that have built in spikes. [10]
    Walk on Ice Step 10.jpg
    • Don’t wear leather boots or shoes with leather soles. They have weaker traction, meaning you’re more likely to lose your balance.
    • Ice chains can be attached to shoes to help give you the extra grip you need.
  2. Wear a heavy jacket. No matter how careful you are, there’s always a chance you'll fall. Wearing a heavy winter coat can help soften the blow. Try the puffy kind to give yourself an extra cushion.[11]
    Walk on Ice Step 11.jpg
    • Wearing thick, heavy pants can also help.
  3. Use gloves with grip. When we fall, our first instinct is to put our hands out to catch ourselves. It’s important to protect your hands with sturdy gloves. Gloves with grip can stop you from slipping any further. They can also help you get a good grip on railings while you walk.[12]
    Walk on Ice Step 12.jpg
    • Think work gloves with black pads on the palms and fingers.

EditSources and Citations

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from How to of the Day