Longtime Michiganders have a firm grasp on what comes with winters in our great state, and how to plan their everyday activities accordingly. However, icy patches, slick roads, and snow accumulation each turn what should be simple errands into dangerous duties with a potential for serious physical injury. It’s no fun experiencing aches and pains during this time of year, but these tips can help you avoid them and enjoy a fun, injury-free winter:
- Running afternoon errands? Preparation and safety are key. There are more than 445K weather-related car crashes every year, but these can be avoided by making safety a priority. Put a brush and ice scraper in your car and consider purchasing wiper blades and winter tires that provide the traction needed for grip in icy conditions. Speaking of ice, give yourself enough time to let your front and rear windshields defrost for a few minutes before getting in the car to ensure a clear view while driving. Brush snow off the entire vehicle (including the roof, trunk and hood) so the snow does not obstruct you or other drivers’ vision.
- Shoveling snow off your sidewalk? Keep your back in mind. Make sure you have an ergonomic shovel that removes the stress off your back, as well as an adjustable handle to accommodate for your height. Before you start, give your arms and shoulders a slight warm-up with shoulder or arm rolls for some gentle stretching. Then, turn your body to the light pile of snow you’re trying to remove, bend your knees and hips to remove pressure from your lower back and, keeping one hand close to the blade and one on the handle, walk the snow to drop it in a new location (instead of twisting your back to do so).
- Walking on an icy sidewalk? Take your time. Slipping and falling on ice is one of the least fun parts about the winter, but there are ways to protect yourself from getting hurt. One way to prevent a slip on ice is to wear shoes that provide traction in the sole, like those with grooves or rubber. Take short steps and lean slightly forward on the insides of your feet (you know you’re doing it right when you resemble a penguin as you walk). If you find yourself slipping, try to fall on your forearms. This will help you avoid injury to your wrists or elbows.
For other winter safety tips, check out the ‘Your Power’ section on Empowering Michigan.
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