5 Winter Walking Safety Tips

Feb 24, 2021 | Pedestrian Safety

Walking is a great way for people of all ages to stay in shape and enjoy winter, however, pedestrians need to be more cautious this time of the year as the conditions on sidewalks, paths, and roadways tend to be slushy and icy. Take in winter, one step at a time, with these 5 helpful winter walking tips!

1. Be mindful crossing at crosswalks

Whether there are lights to activate or a crossing guard present to assist pedestrians across the street, pedestrians should be mindful of their surroundings. Always be on the lookout for cars running stop signs or red lights. Although they SHOULD stop, unfortunately, it doesn’t always mean they will stop – especially if the road conditions are icy or wet.

2. Have slip-on cleats during icy conditions

To avoid accidents due to slips and falls on icy sidewalks, wear a pair of slip-on cleats. They may not win your outdoor attire any fashion awards for looks, but you will have more of a grip as you strut down the slippery streets. While these functional accessories help prevent walkers from falling, they should not be used on polished surfaces such as stone or tiled interiors as there is nothing for the cleats to grip.

3. Have a head’s up while winter walking

Distracted walking whether it is on sidewalks, paths, and roadways can be disastrous to walkers. Looking at your smartphone or blaring music in your headphones takes away your ability to pay attention to your surroundings. These incidents happen more often when pedestrians are at busy intersections or at a bus, train, or subway station. Distractions can be dangerous. Not having a head’s up on the situation around you can lead to accidents and even death.

4. A small bag of sand can be your best friend

Having a small bag of sand or non-clumping cat litter on hand could end up becoming your best friend while walking during the winter season. If you come across an unsafe slippery surface, sprinkling some of this “grip dust” on this area will allow you to move safely without feeling stuck for a safe place to walk.

5. Steer clear of snowbanks

Snowbanks are not as stable as they may seem to be. These snowy barriers are capable of collapsing at any moment or trapping pedestrians trying to stomp through them. Becoming stuck in a snowbank can result in various degrees of injuries or even death. Additionally, they take away from being able to see what may be coming on the other side of them – including cars and bicycles.

By having these helpful hints on hand when winter walking, each step you take will be a safer one!



Road safety is a shared responsibility, regardless of how (or when) you use the road. Our friends, family, children, and colleagues are impacted several times daily by road safety. When tragedy strikes, too often we feel powerless in terms of making an impact to prevent further issues. If you would like to get more involved in road safety, we invite you to take the #RoadSMARTS pledge. By taking the Road SMARTS Pledge, you Support Making All Road Travel Safe, which can help improve road safety for everyone. When road behaviours change, accidents can be reduced. For more information and to take the pledge for free, visit https://www.road-smarts.ca/