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Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Tips for walking to class in the Wisconsin winter

As a freshman from New Jersey, adjusting to the Wisconsin winter weather has been a slow process. The sidewalks are covered with ice, some of the walkways are still snowed over and the wind coming off the lakes does not help the situation at all. After being here for a little over a week since coming back from winter break, I have picked up a few tips, both from myself and my Midwestern friends. 

1. Do not walk with your hands in your pockets 

This is so important. There are unexpected ice patches and slippery slopes, and you need your hands to break your fall if it does happen. I know your hands are cold, but please, wear some gloves and keep your hands outside of your coat pockets. It is dangerous if you fall backwards and do not have anything to break your fall. 

2. Take short steps

The worst thing you can do is fall because your legs are not stabilized on the ice. This is a great measure to take to lessen your chances of falling backwards. It will also keep your center of gravity at the core of your body, making it easier for you to walk safely and without wobbling. Additionally, if you walk with shorter steps, you should keep your head slightly forward to avoid hitting it if you fall. 

3. Layer up

From being the kid who was annoyed with my mom for making me wear a coat, I’m telling you right here, right now: wear an extra layer. Not only will you be miserable if you are freezing cold, you will likely get sick. The most important parts of your body to really bundle up are your extremities (earlobes, nose, fingers and toes) because they are dangerously susceptible to frostbite. So please, I’m begging you, wear your hat, gloves and warm boots.

4. Plan your schedule in advance

As college students, we are sometimes constantly in a rush to go places, whether it is another class, lunch with a friend or professors’ office hours. Give yourself an ample amount of time to move around campus, either by bus or by foot. When you are rushing from one place to another, there is a higher chance you will slip — especially if you are not paying attention to your surroundings. Be careful and responsible with your time.

5. Invest in quality winter gear

While we often see luxury name brands around the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, so many other outdoor apparel brands sell amazing and affordable winter wear that can ensure your safety. Your boots should have rubber soles with a lot of grooves in them to create more friction with the ground — otherwise, you could slip. Also, walk flat-footed to create more surface area with the ground. 

Although I am inexperienced when it comes to heavy snow storms, these tips are important to follow to prevent injuries. Wisconsin winters are absolutely no joke, and taking extra measures to increase your safety is so important. 

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