Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP – Personal Injury Law – Michael J. HenryWalking is a necessity to get from point A to B. Walking is also a great way to keep fit. It can also be very hazardous during the winter weather. Freezing rain, hard packed snow and black ice can be a hazard for pedestrians.

Here are a few tips to make your winter walking safer and easier:

Always wear proper winter footwear. Your boots should be warm, weather rated and waterproof. The sole should be non-slip. The heel and insoles should be wide and lightweight. Boots with worn out treads should be discarded.

If you are walking for fitness, use a pair of walking sticks or even ski poles. People with walking disabilities should consider using a cane with a retractable ice pick at the end. You can purchase these at most drug stores. Also consider walking indoors as many malls offer free indoor walking times and even have social walking group times.

Walking In WinterThe elderly should consider wearing a hip protector which is a lightweight belt, or pants that will protect ones hips should a fall occur. Be sure to wear bright colours with reflective materials if walking at night. Always wear a warm hat, and mittens or gloves. Dressing in layers is also helpful to keep warm.

When walking on ice, slow down and stabilize yourself by walking with your feet a shoulder width apart to provide support. Keep your knees bent a bit to lower your center of gravity. Place your whole foot flat on the ice and move your weight slowly from foot to foot. Drag or shuffle your feet if this feels safer. Lowering your steps will reduce the likelihood of losing your balance.

Homeowners should remove snow and ice from their drive-way, walk-ways and any sidewalks on their property. Report any sidewalks or pathways that are not maintained to the City or property owner.

Is it of course better to avoid ice if you can. Always be aware of your walking route. Be sure that someone knows your planned path and expected time of return. Bring a cell phone if you have one, but do not use it while you are walking as it will be a distraction. Pay attention! Just one fall can leave you with pain and sometimes serious injuries which can affect you for the rest of your life, so walk with care this winter.

Michael Henry is one of the founding partners of Howie, Sacks & Henry.  He can be reached at 416-361-0998 or

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