Penguins! They are the classiest of all birds with their built-in tuxedo, but did you know they are great at navigating icy surfaces?

The key to their success is distributing their weight onto the front of their feet and taking small steps that reduce the chance of slipping. And guess what, it works for humans too. Next time you encounter a slippery surface, remember, walk like a penguin!

Slip and fall accidents skyrocket during the winter season. This is caused by icy and wet conditions, snow, sleet and freezing rain. As temperatures drop, sidewalks, steps, driveways and other outdoor surfaces often become covered with a layer of ice, creating hazardous situations for us non-penguins.

To reduce the chance of slip and fall incidents, remember to clear all walkways of snow and ice. The application of de-icing agents, such as rock salt or sand, can enhance traction and prevent the formation of ice in standing puddles.

Remember to wear proper footwear with plenty of traction when venturing out in winter. Ballet slippers, smooth-soled dress shoes and flip-flops can turn into skates that send you flying. Taking the extra time to lace up a winter boot or heavy-duty sneaker can help reduce most slip-and-fall chances.

To improve your balance, try to reduce the number of items you are carrying. If your hands are preoccupied you can’t brace yourself when you fall, which can lead to serious injuries. Instead of trying to get everything in one trip, take your time, look where you are stepping and use handrails when available.

Black or clear ice can appear shiny at night

Keep an eye out for black (or clear) ice. It is difficult to spot but is caused by snow melting during the day, and then re-freezing at night. Black ice is most common on bridges and overpasses or in shaded areas near the roadway. Try to look ahead in your path to gauge any black ice patches.

These tips will help you stay upright and safe when you’re out and about this winter. Taking a few extra minutes and paying a little more attention can be the difference between a great night and a trip to the hospital. Stay safe out there!

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