What’s the best way to walk on ice to minimize the risk of falling? To safely traverse ice from the most recent inclement weather, follow the advice below:
MOVE SLOWLY AND STEADILY.
Clearly, instinct and common sense kicks in the moment you approach the slick surface, telling us it’s virtually impossible (and not really wise) to sprint across an ice-covered driveway. Slow and easy wins the proverbial race, right?
Yes, minimizing forward and backward force is indeed essential when walking on ice.
TAKE SHORTER STEPS.
What does reducing forward-and-backward force mean practically? Taking shorter steps. When we do so, the forces applied against the ground in forward and backwards directions are reduced.
AVOID MELTING ICE.
How slippery ice becomes can vary by temperature—so being aware of temperatures can help you figure out how easy or challenging it may be to cross ice. Ice is more slippery as it is melting so be extra careful when you encounter ice with warmer temperatures.
GO AROUND SLOPES AND STAIRS WHEN YOU CAN.
You should also be mindful of the surface you’re about to set foot on. A flat surface is one thing, but a slant will probably leave a score of Ice 1, Human 0 as gravity will take over.
Stairs can make navigating ice even more treacherous, but we know it’s not always possible to avoid them. When dealing with icy steps, be sure to use handrails, keeping your hands out of your pockets, and continue to move slowly.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR CHANGING SURFACES.
Then there are circumstances where the surface characteristics can change without us realizing it. Don’t fret if you’re walking on a straight, dry surface and suddenly encounter an icy patch you weren’t expecting. We pay closer attention to surface characteristics than we may consciously realize, and we adjust our stride patterns automatically.
WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES.
And don’t forget the benefits of appropriate footwear. Consider a shoe’s material properties, noting that a rigid leather sole is far from ideal as it offers a significantly weaker grip compared to a rubber sole. Of course, traction-improving treads, cleats, or spikes can help too.
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, WADDLE.
Consider taking an ice-walking cue from those waddling tuxedoed ice pros: Walk like a penguin. Shuffling helps keep your weight in a straight-down stance, allowing your feet to carry your weight carefully and minimize slipping.
Advice found from “7 Science-Approved Tips for Walking Across Ice” at mentalfloss.com by Jennifer Lea Reynolds on February 16, 2018.