Opinion

Icy sidewalks are an underestimated winter hazard

Kids laugh as they slide around on ice in the cold winter months.

We love using it for sports like hockey or professional figure skating.

We put it in our drinks to make them refreshing and on our heads when we have a fever.

We are mesmerized by its beauty as it forms intricate icicles. It’s calm and peaceful as we cozy up indoors with our hot chocolate and admire its simple beauty.

It is responsible for 17,000 deaths each year in the United States. It’s heartless, deadly and underestimated.

According to the CDC, 1,000,000 Americans are injured in ice-related incidents annually.

According to Rothman Orthopedics, these incidents can range from concussions, muscle sprains and ligament strains to compression fractures and broken bones.

In the worst case, it causes your heart to stop beating because you’ve been killed.

Game over.


Suddenly, a slip on the ice turns into dollar signs, either for your medical bills or your funeral.

Slipping on the ice is funny until it’s not.

While it’s embarrassing to slip in front of other people, as I have multiple times, it’s much safer to have an ice-related accident in public than while walking alone at night or going out to the mailbox at the end of your slippery driveway.

Slipping on ice while alone could result in a life-or-death situation when your elderly grandparent falls and can’t get up.

In the worst case, they could freeze to death outside if the weather is cold enough and they are unable to call for help.

A small accident could easily turn into a regrettable tragedy.

As SVSU begins its winter semester, it’s critical students, faculty and staff are aware of ice hazards and take the necessary measures to mitigate risks.

A minor slip on an icy sidewalk is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possible injuries.

The best way to protect yourself against ice hazards is to practice safety strategies such as watching where you walk and scattering salt along walking paths.

Report icy sidewalks or roads to the university or a public business; it may just save someone’s life.

Remember, it only takes one “slip-up” to injure or kill yourself in an ice-related incident.


Ice is just as dangerous when driving a vehicle, so take your turns slowly and give yourself plenty of room to stop at four-way stops and red lights.

Know your vehicle and know the roads. Not all ice can be seen when behind the wheel of a car, and erring on the side of caution is never a mistake.

If you’re running late for an important meeting or appointment, remind yourself that it’s always better to get somewhere late than dead.

Remember that when you rush on winter roads, you’re putting others’ lives at risk as well as your own.

Set extra time aside in the morning to warm up your car and navigate snowy roads.

For some, my words of warning will cut no ice. People who don’t exercise caution around ice are likely to put you at risk, so drive defensively and watch out for drivers who play with fire.

Some universities invest in heated sidewalks and some homeowners install heated driveways.

Modern technology can help shape a safer future for all of us, but investing in those luxuries always seems unnecessary until the day someone is injured or killed.

It shouldn’t take a tragedy for us to address a hazard.

Father Winter is here. He owns the roads. He owns the streets and sidewalks.

He has the right of way, always.

We owe him our respect and consideration, and he hates it when people don’t take him seriously.

While snow and ice appear beautiful and harmless from inside a warm home or school, remember that it has the power to seriously injure and kill as easily as a knife or a gun.

Remember, so long as the weather is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, we’re all walking on thin ice.

Categories: Opinion

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