Today winter is reaching down into southern states that don’t usually have to bother with snow and ice. Stepping onto invisible ice which you aren’t prepared for can be an ankle-breaker or worse. It doesn’t have to be a big patch. Sometimes the most treacherous ice is small and right outside your front door – a drain pipe overflowing into a little pool, or a slick spot on a step.
I consulted Heather Platt, one of our Mobility staff (like Jo Kolb, re-post Jan. 14) at the Carroll Center for her advice and here are some recommendations:
- Be aware that there may be ice. This is a no-brainer for anyone in the northern states, but maybe not so obvious if you live further south.
- Be careful how you step. shift your weight carefully from foot to foot and test for slipperiness. Accidents can happen in an instant!
- Make sure there’s plenty of ice melt, or a salt and sand mix, on your steps and pathways.
- Wear shoes or boots with a heavy tread. Hiking shoes or boots can be good options.
- Studded boots are available, but you have to leave them at the door when you go inside.
Only metal really pierces the ice. Pull-on rubber treads with metal studs underneath are a good option. You pull them onto your shoe as you leave the house and take them off when you arrive. They fit in a bag or pocket. Ask about the sizing. I tried some that were Men’s Large and they were right for my Women’s 8 shoe. In this severe weather they are selling fast. You can find them at outdoor stores, in catalogs for people with vision loss, at the Carrrol Store (free shipping), and at Amazon. There are also pull-on coiled metal tread called yaktrax. Some years ago I found them slippery when I stepped off the ice onto paving. They also wear out faster, but Heather says many of her clients like them. You can find a store which sells them by calling 1 (866)925-8729, or 1866-YAKTRAX.
Stay safe, and let the rest of us know your tips for stepping out when it’s icy.