Tips for Walking in Icy Weather
11 January 2013 | Admin
First of all, we'd like to wish a happy new year to all of our customers! We hope that you had an enjoyable festive season and start to the new year, and that you are all enjoying 2013 so far. We certainly had an enjoyable Christmas, although New Year was a bit of a let-down since many of us were choked with colds, but it seems that there is a lot of it around this year. We hope this blog post finds you all well, healthy and raring to go for the year ahead!
Yesterday we pointed out in one of our Facebook posts that we are due some icy and snowy weather in the UK over the weekend (and possibly for the next few weeks in January), with this in mind we thought we would write a post on how those with mobility difficulties can protect themselves when the ground is a bit more slippery than usual.
First of all, and this is probably obvious to many, is to ensure that any paths outside are clear of snow or ice. Make sure you are stocked up on grit/salt and that the paths are cleared daily. This will not only protect you from any slips or falls, but will prevent anyone else slipping who visits you too. If you have family who have mobility difficulties, offer to help them clear their paths, as they may find it difficult to do so themselves.
Secondly, ensure that you have footwear that is designed for extra grip on slippery surfaces. Wellington boots are always useful in this type of weather, but not always practical to wear. Walking boots, are ideal, but really any sturdy footwear with large 'chunky' and deep grips will help increase your stability on slippery surfaces. Or perhaps invest in some clip-on ice-grips for your shoes. We don't sell these at the Stick and Cane Shop, but there are many good online retailers that do. Flat-soled shoes with no grips will not provide the grip necessary to help with walking.
Third, if you use a cane, ensure that your ferrule (the rubber tip at the end) is not worn down. Just like shoes, these grips can wear away with use, and you will be amazed at the difference a fresh ferrule will make to the stability of any cane. Also, ferrules with wider diameters provide a greater surface area for the stick to make contact with the ground, so try replacing the ferrule with one of these in wintry weather to ensure additional grip.
Ice Cane Attachment
Fourth, if you find that the ice is very thick, why not consider buying our Ice Cane Attachment. These little gadgets fit easily on the end of your cane and can be easily flipped into position for extra grip on icy or snowy ground. The metal teeth grip into the ice and provide superb stability on slippery ground. When it's not needed, it is attached by a spring so can easily be retracted. These ice cane attachments can be easily fitted to most types of canes that we have available at the Stick and Cane Shop.
Fifth, for extra stability, why not use two canes? This may seem a simple suggestion, but the stability provided by two canes helps increase your stability immensely in slippery or icy conditions. If you are going for a long walk in icy conditions, why not try out our pairs of hiking poles. They will provide the necessary stability and give you greater confidence when taking longer walks in difficult terrain.
Finally, if you do find that two sticks are cumbersome to use, or that you need at least one hand free, why not invest in a quad cane for the winter months. These quad canes have four feet at the bottom which are attached to an individual cane. The four feet provide a substantial increase in stability compared with traditional canes in all conditions, and might just be ideal for you to help you navigate those slippery pavements this winter. Switch sticks make wonderful quad canes, balancing functionality with fashion!
We hope that these tips help you during this cold snap, but no matter what, ensure that you are safe and secure at all times, and do not venture out into the cold weather unless it's necessary.
What additional tips would you suggest when the cold weather bites? We'd be interested to hear your suggestions and handy hints. Let us know in the comments below.