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Walking on Snow & Ice

Walking to and from parking lots and around campus during the winter requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. Slips and falls are some of the most frequent types of injuries that DMACC sees - especially during the winter months.

penguinNo matter how well the snow and ice is removed from parking lots or sidewalks, DMACC employees and students will still encounter some slippery surfaces when walking outdoors in the winter. It is important for everyone to be constantly aware of these dangers and to learn to walk safely on ice and slippery surfaces.

  • In cold temperatures, walk with caution and assume that all snow covered or 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.
  • Point your feet out slightly, like a penguin. Spreading your feet out slightly while walking on ice increases your center of gravity.
  • 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.
  • If you must walk in the street, walk against the flow of traffic, as close to the curb as you can.
  • Taking shortcuts through areas where snow and ice removal is not feasible can be hazardous. Try to avoid straying from the beaten path.
  • 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.
  • If you must carry a load, try not to carry too much; leave your hands and arms free to balance yourself.
  • 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.
  • Watch where you are stepping and GO S-L-O-W-L-Y! This will help your reaction time to changes in traction.
  • When walking on steps always use the hand railings and plant your feet firmly on each step.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles; use the vehicle for support.
  • Take short steps or shuffle for stability. It also helps to stop occasionally to break momentum.
  • During bad weather, avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels. 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. Special ice cleats are also available.

Physical Plant employees will continue to remove snow, sand sidewalks and roads, and use chemical ice melt to reduce slip and fall hazards as much as possible. Remember they will salt and melt it today but it can freeze again overnight. It is important for individuals to recognize the hazards of slippery walks and roadways.