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Ice ice baby

By Melissa Babcock

This has been a weird winter in Alberta. Temperatures have been way above average for this time of year, which in turn causes the snow to melt. (Thanks high school Physics class! Or is that Chemistry? Anyway…) Then it cools off again, causing the newly-melted snow to freeze. This, mixed with the occasional new snow fall and smatterings of rain (RAIN! In February!) has resulted in one of the most feared and loathed of all winter by-products: ice. And lots of it.

Has anyone seen this woman lurking by icy sidewalks?

Has anyone seen this woman lurking by icy sidewalks?

Roads are usually grated and sanded relatively quickly to ensure safety for drivers. But walking is a different story. The steps from my back door and the sidewalk which leads to my car have become a treacherous skating rink and I’ve almost wiped out in spectacular fashion more than once. So I’ve been trying to follow a few safety tips while out and about to ensure I don’t slip and spend the rest of winter in traction with a broken limb:

  • Busting out the cleats. My Uggs may look cute and keep my feet warm, but when it’s icy, they provide zero grip and I end up doing the penguin shuffle along the sidewalk. Boots with thick soles and some traction are definitely the way to go if you want to stay on your feet.
  • Stay off the grass? Maybe in the spring. When a sidewalk is particularly slick, it’s usually safer to walk on the fresh snow around the pavement than to try and traverse patches of ice, as the snow will compress under your feet and help you keep your balance. Of course, this does not apply if your sidewalk is surrounded by two-foot drifts.
  • Slow and steady. Bend your knees a touch, take careful steps and walk with your arms out slightly at your sides to help keep your balance. And slow down! Unless you’re wearing speed skates and are about to compete in short track, it’s not a race.

By following these tips as I’ve navigated the slick terrain this winter, I’ve had a few close calls but no serious falls (yet – knock on wood). And if this warm weather sticks around, it will be puddles I’ll be dodging next!

Have you been experiencing an icy winter? How to you stay safe in such conditions? Tell us by leaving a comment, or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!



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