How to Walk in Winter

Couple walking on snowy sidewalksAfter our mild autumn and holiday seasons, the current blast of winter requires some change in habits. We’re familiar with drivers trying to adjust to snowy driving conditions, but it’s just as important to adopt different ways of walking, especially on city sidewalks. Here are a few tips to help navigate your way safely in snowy weather.

  • Don’t put your hands in your pockets. You can keep your balance by moving your hands and arms, but not if they’re tucked into your coat. Wear gloves or mittens to keep your hands warm.
  • Wear a hat that covers your head and ears, and maybe a scarf over your face. Which is preferable – a bad hair day, or losing the tips of your ears or nose to frostbite?
  • Wear flat-soled boots. High-heeled boots may look fashionable, but wearing a cast on your leg is much less so.
  • Walk with small steps. If your foot is too far away from your centre of gravity, the downward push of your weight could send it flying out from under you.
  • If you encounter a slope in the sidewalk (say, the entrance to a driveway), walk at the very bottom of the slope, if possible. This area is flat, with more secure footing. Walking on the slope is an invitation to fall.
  • If the surface of a shovelled sidewalk is too smooth and slippery, walk in the snow or rough ground beside the sidewalk instead. You’ll go more slowly, but you’ll have more traction.
  • If you start to fall, try to relax as you go down. You’re less likely to break something if you’re not holding yourself rigid.
  • At an intersection, don’t just assume oncoming traffic can stop normally. Make sure approaching cars have stopped before you step off the sidewalk.

And finally, once inside a building, don’t stay bundled up “till you feel warm.” This just cocoons you longer inside a cold coat. Whip off your hat and gloves, and throw your coat open. Let the warm air get at you! Then off you go to shop, work, or make your dinner, having arrived safely and in one piece.

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4 thoughts on “How to Walk in Winter

  1. MEC says:

    “Walk with small steps. If your foot is too far away from your centre of gravity, the downward push of your weight could send it flying out from under you.”

    This is the one I always forget until I’m ::ahem:: forcibly reminded.

    One more: Don’t assume the pavement isn’t slippery just because it doesn’t look slippery.

  2. MEC says:

    “Walk with small steps. If your foot is too far away from your centre of gravity, the downward push of your weight could send it flying out from under you.”

    This is the one I always forget until I’m ::ahem:: forcibly reminded.

    One more: Don’t assume the pavement isn’t slippery just because it doesn’t look slippery.

  3. kiirstin says:

    Perhaps I am one of the few, but I’m so happy to see the snow finally! It doesn’t feel like December without it.

    Excellent tips, though! Another tip I always like to remind people of is that if you bundle up inside, and heat up inside, when you step outside it’s going to feel *way* colder than if you had put on your wintery things just before you went out.

    • kashicat says:

      Yes! That’s so true! And it goes along with not keeping all those bundled clothes on when you finally get inside, if you plan to go outside again. (Like when you go to a mall.)

      I actually don’t mind the snow — too much. At least not in December. I tend to want to go outside and play in it, for the first few days before it gets commonplace. But the holiday season just doesn’t feel real without snow.

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