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How to Walk on Ice and Snow

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Written by Tom Fowler   


Walking on snow and ice – or any slippery surface -- is an art form. Here are suggestions on how to do it safely.

Things You Will Need:

Walking stick (optional)

Shoes or boots with rubber treads

Step 1:

First you must recognize the difference between a merely wet surface and one which is frozen. With snow this is not a problem but often an icy surface looks the same as standing water.   

Step 2:

Before walking on snow or ice, gauge as best you can the surface underneath. Is it flat or bumpy? Knowledge of what you are walking on will help you avoid unpleasant surprises

Step 3:

When commencing your walk, stand up straight and do not hunch over or lean in any direction. Proceed slowly. Repeat, proceed slowly!

Step 4:

Pretend you are wearing snowshoes. Place your lead foot squarely on the surface. DO NOT attempt to walk normally, with the heel striking the surface first. This is how slips occur. At all times the foot, or feet, on the surface must be entirely on the surface.

Step 5:

Proceed slowly. Repeat, proceed slowly! Take small steps and make certain both feet are squarely on the surface before lifting the back foot to step forward. Pay close attention to staying balanced and as level as possible given the surface you are walking on. WATCH where you are walking!

Step 6:

The wisest course of all is to stay off of icy surfaces. It is easy to fall and injure yourself regardless of how safe you are being or how appropriate your footwear is.


From Step 3: If possible, do not carry anything when walking on ice. If you do begin to slip, you will need to move your arms and hands to steady yourself.

Even a rubber sole will slip if there is no tread. “Waffle Stompers” are ideal for walking on frozen surfaces.


From Step 2: Potholes may be hiding underneath snow. Stepping in one is a good way to sprain or break an ankle.



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