There are many precautions to keep in mind during the winter. Stony Brook has icy conditions in the winter and care must be taken to avoid falls or other accidents.
Walking to and from parking lots or between buildings during the winter requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. Below are several tips on how to stay safe when walking in icy conditions.
Winter walking tips
Remember that no matter how well snow and ice is removed from parking lots or sidewalks, you may still encounter slippery surfaces when walking outside during the winter.
Be Cautious of Things Above You
- Trees compromised by heavy snow.
- Snow on roofs or elevated structures.
Choose Appropriate Clothing
- During bad weather, avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels, such as plastic and leather soles. Instead, wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice; boots made of non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles are best.
- Wear a heavy, bulky coat that will cushion you if you should fall.
- Wear a bright scarf or hat or reflective gear so drivers can see you.
- Keep warm, but make sure you can hear what's going on around you.
- During the day, wear sunglasses to help you see better and avoid hazards.
- Whatever you wear, make sure it doesn't block your vision or make it hard for you to hear traffic.
Walk Carefully Over Ice
- In cold temperatures, approach with caution and assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy. Dew or water vapor can freeze on cold surfaces, forming an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement.
- Walk in designated walkways as much as possible. Taking shortcuts over snow piles and other frozen areas can be hazardous. Look ahead when you walk; a snow- or ice-covered sidewalk or driveway, especially if on a hill, may require travel along its grassy edge for traction.
- DO NOT WALK IN THE STREET.
- Taking shortcuts through areas where snow and ice removal is not feasible can be hazardous. Try to avoid straying from the beaten path.
- Point your feet out slightly like a penguin! Spreading your feet out slightly while walking on ice increases your center of gravity.
- Bend slightly and walk flat-footed with your center of gravity directly over the feet as much as possible.
- Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance. Beware if you are carrying a heavy backpack or other load—your sense of balance will be off.
- Keep your hands out of your pockets. Hands in your pockets while walking decreases your center of gravity and balance. You can help break your fall with your hands free if you do start to slip.
- When walking on steps, always use the handrails and plant your feet firmly on each step.
Be Careful Near Traffic
- Before stepping off the curb, make sure all cars and trucks have come to a complete stop. Motorists sometimes underestimate the time it takes to stop, often unintentionally sliding into the crosswalk.
- Due to poor road conditions, motorists may not be able to stop or slow down for pedestrians. Avoid crossing in areas where driver visibility is low—the cross traffic may not be able to stop in time.
- Be on the lookout for vehicles sliding in your direction.
- Vehicles should yield to snow removal equipment in streets and parking lots.
Walking over slippery floor can be just as dangerous as walking over ice! Keep these tips in mind if you are entering a building:
- Remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can. Water from melting ice on the floor can lead to slippery conditions.
- Notice that floors and stairs may be wet and slippery—walk carefully especially by outer doors.
If You Should Fall:
- Try to avoid landing on your knees, wrists, or spine. Try to fall on a fleshy part of your body, such as your side. Wearing thick clothing can help prevent injury to the bony parts of your body.
- Try to relax your muscles if you fall. You'll injure yourself less if you are relaxed.