Say hello to Charlie the sure-footed penguin! He recently moved to Central Oregon to help people avoid slips, trips and falls this winter.
When conditions are slippery thanks to snow and ice, take a few simple steps to make sure you stay upright. Here are 10 things you can do to avoid falling this winter:
1. Walk like Charlie
Waddle like a penguin to maintain your balance, using short, flat steps. You may feel like it looks funny, but it’s better than falling and hurting yourself.
2. Wear appropriate footwear
Boots or flat shoes with wide heels and slip-resistant soles are best. No high heels! Carry them with you if you’ll need them, or keep a pair in your office.
3. Give yourself more time
When winter weather arrives, everything moves slower. Leave your home a bit earlier so you’ll still get where you need to go on time.
4. Exit your car with both feet
Swing both legs out and place both feet flat on the ground when getting out of your car. Hold on to something for support as you stand.
5. Don't carry too much
Your arms are important for balance! Carry only what you can, and use a bag or backpack to free your hands if needed. Also, keep your hands out of your pockets.
6. Resist shortcuts
Only use pathways that have been cleared. Don’t try to pioneer a path through snow and ice. It’s not worth it!
7. Don’t be distracted
Focus on walking, not your cell phone or some other thing that could take your focus away from walking.
8. Consider using traction footwear
There are many styles of traction footwear that you can strap onto the bottom of your shoes and help you stay upright. Carry some in your car for particularly wintry days. (But don’t wear them inside.)
9. Be safe inside
Remove snow and ice from your shoes upon entering buildings. Watch for puddles and slippery spots. Use handrails when taking the stairs.
10. When in doubt, ask for help.
Nothing makes you feel more stable on a slippery surface than a friendly arm to hold.
BONUS: If you'd like to hang these tips in places that can be hazardous in winter, feel free to print this poster.