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Winter Wellness: Pedestrian Safety

Thursday, January 17, 2019 7:07 AM

NorthShore’s Emergency Departments have seen a significant spike in injuries from people slipping and falling on the ice in the past couple days. Injuries have included broken ankles, hips, and wrists - from people trying to break their falls.

With the National Weather Service issuing a winter weather advisory for much of northern Illinois through Wednesday afternoon, it’s more important than ever to be safe when out and about.


Robert Zombolo, DPM, Orthopaedics at NorthShore, shares some safety tips for walking in the winter wonderland:

  • Right foot(wear) forward. Make sure you have the proper footwear before you step outside. Avoid shoes with smooth soles and heels, and wear shoes or boots that will provide you with traction.
  • Shine bright. When you are walking or running, wear brightly colored jackets, scarves, hats or reflective gear so drivers will see you.
  • Stay on track. Use the designated walkways. When you take a different path other than the designated walkway, you could be wandering onto surfaces that are not well kept and hazardous.
  • Watch where you are going. Keep your eyes off your phone and look where you are walking. If your eyes are busy, you may miss the black ice or frozen chunks of snow that are in your path.
  • Use caution. Always assume in the cold temperatures that all wet and dark spots on the pavement are slippery and icy. Approach with caution or avoid them if you can.
  • Take it slow. When approaching icy surfaces, bend your knees slightly and take short steps. While keeping your hands and arms free for balance, shuffle your feet and walk slowly so you can react quickly.
  • Speak up. If you see unsafe surfaces while you are out and about, tell someone. If you are at a store alert the manager about the ice in the parking, tell your friend about the icy patch at her driveway and check your own driveway often.

Remember if you happen to fall on snow or ice; do not put your hands out! That is when you are more like to break your hands or arms. If you can, tuck your arms in and roll, and move your head away from the ground.