black ice and walking

Walking has been a little bit treacherous around Chi-town this week.

It’s that time of year when the dreaded black ice lurks on sidewalks and open pavement. Snowmelt, frizzle (freezing drizzle), wind, and the freeze – thaw and refreeze cycle all contribute to the nearly transparent film of ice.

I’ve already had a couple of slips and tips, but no falls. (Knock on wood.)

Time to locate my trusty Yaktrax and apply them to my shoes. Traction, will be my new best friend. There are many types of these “ice gripper” slip on style devices for shoes. Most are around $20.00. Check out this previous blog post for more information on this awesome product. (Just a recommendation – not selling!)

When faced with black ice, I try to apply these winter walking tips:

  • Anytime there is ice is on the pavement, forget the scenery and watch your step. Focus on scanning ahead to the next footstep. Any spot that appears dark and slippery should be suspect. The best advice – avoid it. Walk around it even if you have to step through the snow. At least the snow will provide good footing.
  • If you find yourself confronted by a very long patch of ice, walk like a penguin. Spread your feet wide to increase your base of support. Waddle or shuffle from side to side, taking short steps. Try and walk flat footed.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets; in fact extending them out to your sides helps with balance if you get into trouble.
  • If the walk is for distance on a trail or in a rural setting, take ski poles. They can help with balance, as well as stability.
  • If you are an urbanite, ditch the sidewalks and walk in the street. If there aren’t a lot of cars, it’s fun and a powerful feeling!

Some of the prettiest and most invigorating days to walk are in the middle of winter.

Time to be a yak and make some tracks!




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