There's no time of year more hazardous for getting around than winter. Layers of ice and frozen snow make walking difficult and downright dangerous. Furthermore, slip and fall cases are most common during the coldest months. No matter how diligent you may be about shoveling and blowing snow, surfaces may still be slick. How to keep yourself and your loved ones from taking a tumble when the mercury drops? Follow these stay-safe tips:

Wear the right shoes. You may have shoveled and salted your driveway until it's completely clear, but what about that little icy patch by the mailbox? Go out to fetch your mail in a pair of sneakers and you may find yourself down on the ground with a nasty bruise, or worse. No matter how little you plan to walk, don't step out of your house without a shoe or boot made of rubber or neoprene. Slippers, sandals and other flimsy footwear won't cut it.

Use care around cars. Hold onto the car as you enter or exit, as roads may be more slippery than sidewalks.

Use floor mats. When you enter a building, take a minute or two to wipe your feet carefully on the mat. This will not only protect you as you go about your day, but it will help protect others who won't have to follow in your wet footsteps.

Take your time. More than ever, it's important to allow extra minutes to get to your destination. Rushing will only set you up for spills.

Pay attention. Walking along a snow or ice-covered sidewalk is no time for texting or talking on your cell. Keep your eyes in front of you at all times and your hands free in case you need them for balance.

Do the shuffle. If you encounter an icy stretch that you can't avoid, change your stride. Bend forward slightly and shuffle instead of taking longer steps. Tap your foot on the slickest-looking spots to test them before stepping on them.

Position yourself. Despite your best efforts, you're slipping and about to go down. Roll your head forward so you don't hit it as you lose your footing.Let go of any items you're carrying--it's more important to brace yourself for the fall than to protect groceries or a cell phone.


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