Safer Walking in Winter Weather

By Doug Williams
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Clothing – Proper clothing is important. Use the layering system so that you can stay warm in the cold winter weather. Using this system you’re able to adjust your temperature depending on what you’re doing or the changes in the weather. Consider putting some reflective tape on clothing when walking in the dark, and wear clothing that helps you be noticed, it’s better to stand out than blend in, so an orange coat rather than a white coat.

Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves, all of these add insulation to your body, and they also act as some protection in case you do slip and fall. We lose a huge amount fo heat from our heads, so it’s reasonable that if you want to be warm, keep a hat on!

Awareness – One of the more obvious but important tips is to slow down when walking in winter; this allows you to have more time and more control of yourself. Good walking posture is with knees slightly bent and your feet under you. Your aim is to see any hazards before they become incidents.


If the sidewalk’s not been cleared or it looks icy then avoid it, sidewalks are often slippery, many’s the time I’ve had my feet leave the ground because I’ve not thought about what I’m doing and just started walking, to then be laying on my back reminding myself to be more aware.

If the snow is deep I tend to shuffle my feet; I did 2 miles like this once and while it was tiring it also helped me feel much more secure and safe. Keep your feet apart so your weight is more widely distributed.

A little tip – is to have some grit or non-clumping cat litter, if you come across an area that you’re struggling to walk on scatter some of it along your path, this is especially useful if there’s a slight slope you’re trying to walk on.

Extra Protection Tip – Some people, especially older folk can be prone to brittle bones and need to be careful of hip fractures and things like that. You can buy hip protectors that will help in case you do slip and it also gives a psychological boost as well and with that confidence comes a bit more safety because you can relax while walking rather than being tense and stiff.

Don’t stay inside just because winter has arrived. The cold and snow can be beautiful and invigorating, and shouldn’t keep you from going outside. Keep these tips in mind before and while you’re outside and you’ll be taking the right steps to stay safe.


Happy winter walking!


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