How To Avoid Winter Falls While Shoveling and Navigating Snow

Winter in Illinois can bring about all kinds of unpredictable weather, from extreme cold and wind to blowing snow, snow drifts, and ice. As temperatures rise above and below freezing, wet ground can become very slick. Winter slips and falls can range from minor to extremely dangerous, and injuries can occur. Consider the following safety tips to help you stay safe and avoid injuries while out shoveling or walking in snowy conditions. 

Tips for safe snow shoveling:

  • If you have any type of heart condition, be extremely cautious before taking on a heavy exercise like shoveling snow and consult a doctor if necessary.
  • Dress in layers and protect your hands, feet, and face from frostbite.
  • Stretch out and warm up before heading out to shovel snow.
  • Freshly fallen snow is lighter than melted or packed snow.
  • Watch for ice under the snowpack.
  • Pace yourself and take breaks as needed.
  • Bend with your knees, not your back. Use good posture to avoid strains.
  • Don’t shovel more snow than you can handle.
  • Keep your phone on you for emergencies.
  • Add ice melt on compacted snow.
  • Pick a few locations to toss the snow, not just one area. 

Tips for walking in the snow: 

  • Wear shoes with good traction.
  • Be aware of black ice.
  • Use your car frame for support when entering and exiting vehicle.
  • Walk on designated walkways when possible.
  • Don’t text or read while walking; pay attention to the direction you are going.
  • Walk like a penguin if necessary (short, shuffle steps) in icy conditions.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets.
  • Go slow and take smaller steps.
  • Use any available handrails, stairs, and ramps.
  • Wear extra layers of clothing.
  • Don’t carry too many items that can affect your balance.
  • Spread salt or ice melt on slippery areas if possible.


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