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Winter weather safety: Tips for walking in snow and ice

Wednesday - 12/11/2013, 6:34am  ET

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WASHINGTON - Driving in snow and ice can be dangerous, but walking in the same conditions can be treacherous as well.

Tuesday's winter storm left the D.C. area blanketed in snow, but the big story Wednesday is icy conditions. Clear skies and light winds Tuesday night allowed temperatures to plummet area-wide and anything that was wet turned to ice.

Icy conditions can lead to injury if pedestrians don't take precautions, says Martin Tirado, executive director of the Snow & Ice Management Association -- a nonprofit representing the snow removal industry.

"Every winter the hazards of driving in snow and icy conditions are noted, but rarely is walking on snow and ice addressed," Tirado said in a news release. "Slipping and falling while walking accounts for a large number of winter-related injuries and can have an impact on the quality of life for the injured person."

The Snow & Ice Management Association offers tips for walking in ice and snow:

  • Wear proper footwear. Wear shoes with heavy treading and a flat bottom that place the entire foot on the surface of the ground.

  • Wear things that help you see and be seen. Wear sunglasses so you can see. Also, bright and reflect clothing help you be seen by drivers.

  • Plan ahead. Walk consciously on icy sidewalks and parking lots. Look up to see where the next icy spots are and be aware of any vehicles near you.

  • Listen. Avoid listening to music or talking on the phone while walking in icy or snowy conditions. Pedestrians need to be able to hear approaching traffic or other noises.

  • Anticipate ice. What appears to be wet pavement may be black ice, so approach it with caution. Ice will often appear in the mornings, so be more aware in the early hours.

  • Take steps slowly. When walking down steps, take them slowly and deliberately. Plant your feet securely on each step and be sure to have a firm grip on the handrail.

  • Enter buildings slowly. The floors of buildings may be covered in melted snow and ice, so check the entrance and try to step on any rugs in the doorways.

  • Avoid shortcuts. A shortcut path may be dangerous because it is less likely that snow and ice removal occurred.

  • Look up. Be aware of what you're walking under. Falling snow and ice can cause injuries.

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Tags: winter weathericesnowwalking