Tips for Navigating Winter


Munson Healthcare uses its own “penguin,” Waddles, to help promote safer winter walking.

In northern Michigan this time of year, sidewalks and streets can get icy and snow covered. On warmer days that snow can melt and later freeze to become even more treacherous black ice. Penguins instinctively practice safe winter navigation on whatever ground they are covering. There are a few techniques humans can learn from them that can help us navigate the slippery conditions and stay upright through the months ahead.

While penguins do it all naturally, humans need to practice. So, when it becomes icy or wet out there, remember the Waddles Way.

Following are a few tips:


  •  Keep your knees relaxed
  • Point your toes out
  • Take short steps
  • Walk slowly and deliberately
  • Keep your hands free

Indoors, puddles from melting snow, corners, stairs, and distractions like smartphones lead to slips, trips, and falls that could be prevented by paying attention to details.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Watch out for puddles from melting snow and ice
  • Turn corners slowly and with caution
  • Be vigilant when trekking up and down stairs
  • Don’t text while you’re walking
  • Pay attention to transitions in flooring, such as concrete to carpet