How to walk safely in snow and ice to avoid falling on your face

28 February 2018, 14:20 | Updated: 7 March 2018, 10:55

Snow generic

Snow is such a relative rarity in many parts of the UK that we often find ourselves struggling when it comes to walking about in it.

And considering that we're expecting even heavier snowfall in the coming week - the Met Office has upgraded weather warnings to the highest red alert level in some areas - we all need to take extra care.

While motorists have been advised to avoid driving if possible, pedestrians must also be aware of how to stay safe in such tricky conditions. Here's some handy advice to avoid falling flat on your face (or worse):

1. Plan ahead

Give yourself plenty of time in the mornings, especially. You're going to be walking slower than usual, so add a few more minutes to your journey.

There will also be more people on the streets as there's probably going to be disruptions to public transport. 

Read more: How to defrost your car really quickly - and keep thieves away

2. Wear the right shoes

The biggie. Snow and sludge is bad enough, but once it turns into ice, you need shoes that can handle it and can give you a better chance of staying on your feet.

Ideally, wear shoes that are made of rubber and neoprene composite over plastic and leather soles, as they give you better purchase. Obviously avoid shoes with heels, as you’re likely to slip up. Maybe carry your usual shoes in a bag and change into them once you’ve reached your destination.

3. Waddle like a penguin

You may look silly, but everyone will be doing it! Take very short steps and waddle around. Caerphilly County Borough Council has advised people to keep their knees loose, and extend their arms to the side to keep balance, while pointing feet out slightly. In other words, act like a penguin.

If you do fall over, bend your back and head forward so you avoid whacking your head on the floor.

Walk even slower when entering or exiting cars, and climbing stairs. Use any handrails for support, and try to remove any snow or water from your shoes when entering buildings.

4. Don't use your phone!

It should be obvious, but don't text while walking. It can wait! You may miss a particularly icy pavement and fall over.

Also, keep your hands out of your pockets, so that if you do slip over you can manage the fall easier.

5. Don't carry too much

You'll need all the balance you can get, so don't have loads of bags in your arms if you can help it.

Plus, your hands won't be free in case you do fall over, and whatever you're carrying could end up all over the place.

6. Stay in!

Obviously, this would be the preferred option. If there's any way you can stay at home for days like this, then do so.

Failing that, maybe call for a taxi so that there's minimal walking.