Winter Walking Safety
Monday 4th October 2021
Direct Training (GB) Ltd.
It's now officially winter here in the UK and because of this the temperatures are swiftly dropping, the mornings are getting darker and the evenings are getting dark earlier. For many, winter is a wonderful time of the year for taking scenic walks through the countryside, especially for people such as hikers who enjoy venturing off into the hills and peaks. For others, walking is a key way of commuting to and from work. To ensure that you are safe and prepared for anything that could happen whilst you are walking, here are some of our top winter walking tips:
Before you set off it is essential that you check that you have everything you could need in your rucksack. This is because even the simplest of things could help to prevent injury or even save a life in the case of an emergency. As winter days are shorter and it becomes darker earlier, be sure to take more than one head torch as well as spare batteries for all of your equipment and devices that you carry including a portable charger or battery bank for your mobile phone. Furthermore, it is especially important to take spare clothes such as thermal tops and bottoms, gloves and socks as well as something to protect your face such as a balaclava or goggles.
Don't walk after dark
The number one mistake people make when walking in winter is walking in the dark. In the case that you have to travel in the dark or get accidentally caught out after dark, having a spare head torch can be lifesaving. Even if you have planned your route you never know what obstacles you may encounter along the way. This can range from navigational errors to unforeseen mishaps.
Wear good footwear
The single most important thing that you can do for your safety when walking in the winter is wear weather appropriate footwear. Boots with rubber soles and non-slip treads are great; grippers, traction cleats or "Yaktrax" are another excellent idea. Having the right footwear for walking in the winter provides slip resistance.
Furthermore, to avoid slips, trips and falls it is good practice to become a 'defensive walker'. This is much like defensive driving. You can do this by:
- Plan your journey ahead of time to ensure that you have sufficient time to reach your destination.
- As mentioned above, wear boots that have a non-slip tread.
- Assume that all wet and dark areas on the pavement are slippery and icy and either avoid them or take extra caution when navigating them.
- Walk on designated walkways which have been well trodden and maintained.
- Don't text and walk at the same time.
- Use any available handrails.
- Try and avoid carrying items in your arms that can cause you to become unbalanced.
- Shorten your stride and walk slowly to safely navigate on icy paths.
- In order to maintain your balance, keep your hands by your sides and do not put them in your pockets. Furthermore, in the case that you do fall you can use your arms to protect yourself.