Don’t slip up: Ways to avoid a fall when temperatures tumble

Freezing pipe (Pixabay)

Let’s go ahead and start with the MOST obvious line in this whole article: ice is slippery.

It’s why so many people are rightfully heeding the warning to stay off the roads. It’s also why you may need to be extra careful if you step out of your house in the next couple of days to walk the dog, check your mail or take the trash to the curb.

Snow is easy to see. A patch of ice on your patio or driveway may be harder to spot. One wrong step and you could wipe out. At worst, you could get hurt. At best, your fall will be something you and the neighbors can laugh about later when you realize it was caught on their home security cameras.

So while we fully expect Northerners to chuckle that we’re even issuing this caution about walking after a winter storm, those of us who’ve lived in Southeast Texas for a while haven’t experienced weather like this in a long, long time. We just really want you and your loved ones to stay safe. We’re sure you feel the same.

It’s too late to order spikes that strap onto your shoes on Amazon (plus, it could be decades before you would need them again), but there are other simple steps to take to prevent a misstep during this arctic blast.

Again, let’s start with the obvious point: stay inside. Go out as little as possible. When you do go out, try not to move too fast or take too big of steps. While you may want to move quickly to get out of the cold, slowing down is safer when the ground is slick.

If there’s a lot of ice where you are and you can’t wait for it to melt away, you can try scattering salt on the ice to melt it faster. You can also scatter sand or cat litter to give you a little more traction. Wearing shoes with good traction is also important. You’ll want to make sure there’s some substantial tread on the shoes you wear out in these elements.

Leaning forward a bit while walking can help with your balance and keep you from falling backwards. Remember, we’re trying to reduce the risk of serious injuries, so being able to catch yourself on a forward fall is likely better than your backside crashing down.

If you live alone or have older relatives who do, encourage them to keep their cellphone in their pocket if they have to go outside while it’s icy. In the event of a fall, they hopefully will be able to call for help instead of staying out in the cold until they’re spotted.

OK, so maybe this whole article was obvious but if it makes even just one person a bit more careful when they walk out of their house in this icy weather, then it did the trick. Stay safe everyone.