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Use slip-proof footwear - but not your phone - when it's icy

Accidental slips and falls are most common during rush-hour commutes, suggests a new survey.

 Jalankulkija kävelee liukkaalla jalkakäytävällä
File photo. Image: Jarno Mela / Lehtikuva

Using the right shoes for the day's weather plays a significant role in preventing accidents, according to the Finnish Road Safety Council.

Some 40 percent of Finnish residents said wearing the wrong kind of footwear in slippery conditions put them in hazardous situations during last year, according to a survey by the council carried out last month.

In terms of accidents, the most hazardous times of the day take place during peoples' commutes to and from work. The council said that slippery conditions affect everyone who is out and about, regardless of transportation methods.

"Anticipation of slippery conditions plays a key role in preventing accidents involving slipping and falling. You will not be caught off guard in slippery conditions when you follow pedestrian weather warnings and prepare for slippery conditions with the appropriate footwear or anti-slip guards," said Kaarina Tamminiemi, chair of the campaign known as Pysy pystyssä (roughly 'Stay On Your Feet').

Tamminiemi noted that slippery conditions affect people of all ages.

"When people of working age hurt themselves, the costs to their employer and society can easily rise due to sick leave – in addition to physical pain and distress, of course," she said.

The council said that good shoes for slippery conditions feature low, wide heels with an outer sole of soft material with good traction, and also recommends the use of removable anti-slip guards or studded boots.

Pedestrians need to look up

Council planning officer Petri Jääskeläinen said people need to focus on walking - particularly when pathways are icy. He also said, like drivers, pedestrians should take a moment to stop in order to look at their phones rather than checking them on the go.

"Your brain really can’t multitask, so in reality, multitasking only means switching between paying attention to one thing and then to the other. When you are trying to focus on two things at once, you are going to disrupt either one or both of these tasks. If you are immersed in using your phone, your thoughts and eyes are easily distracted, in which case slippery areas may take you by surprise as you walk," Jääskeläinen said.

The Finnish Road Safety Council's survey of 1,009 people in Finland was carried out in December 2018 by polling firm Kantar TNS.

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