Winter has been showing off all its fine, frosty features these past few months without hardly a break. Sleet, snow, ice, freezing temperatures have been unleashed in full force, and we do our best to prep and cope.

I repeat: we do our best. But sometimes it’s not enough when trying to conquer ice. We slip, we slide, we dance, and we fall. And some of us do just fine. Ice is sneaky though. It can hide in plain sight, coating sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways like a shiny veneer.

It can be buried under snow or slush, waiting to hit you with a “gotcha” right before you step, slip, and crash into the pavement. Ouch! To help us learn how to navigate treacherous ice patches in our path, Minnesota’s WCCO News team is sharing some tips.

Before we get into that, let’s address the basics: footwear. If you know you’ll be walking on wintry terrain, it’s best to wear boots. Not dress shoes, heels, or flats. You can always change out of them when you arrive safely at your destination.

Now for the gist: walk like a penguin. They’ve got this ice-walking thing down pat and here’s how it’s done:

  • Position your feet so that they’re pointing outwards at a slight angle.
  • With your arms extended out at your sides, lean slightly forward until your center of gravity is over one leg.
  • Take small steps and waddle from side to side, shifting your weight and center from leg to leg – just as penguins do. It’s advised to keep your hands out of your packets as that can throw off your center of gravity.

No matter how careful you are, falls can still occur, so it’s best to know how to do that too. Knowing how to fall can help you avoid serious injury, pain, or stitches. Our reflexes tell us to break an impending crash with our hands, but that increases the risk of injury.

You’ll want to tuck your body forward so your spine and head don’t hit the ground. Click on this video to hear more about the penguin strut and for advice from Dr. Mirick on how to properly brace yourself for a fall. She can teach you how to protect your arms and legs!

If you’ve learned your lesson the hard way about walking on ice, then you probably have figured out a few ways to avoid getting hurt when doing it. I remember as kids, we would lock arms and walk as a unified chain. Most of the time it worked because we learned to go slowly.

Remember to take your time when walking, wear the right shoes, and dress in outerwear that has extra cushioning just in case. Using a cane with a pick on the end can also aid you in staying steady and upright. We’ve still got a ways to go with winter weather so if you must walk, let the force of the penguin guide you.

Have you ever attempted the penguin walk? Are you the victim of an ice-related injury? What other tips can you share for walking on ice?