How To Prevent Falls Outside

This is the second post in a three-part series about falls. This post provides tips for avoiding falls outside the home. The third installment will give tips for indoor safety.

Here are some tips to avoid falls when you’re walking outside:

  • Be a high-stepper. If you’re shuffling along, you’re more apt to trip on uneven sidewalks or tree debris.
  • Put your money where your feet are. Don’t skimp on shoes. Examine them weekly to make sure the soles are in good shape—not thin or torn. Replace them well before they’re that worn. And, need I say, toss the high heels.
  • Light your way. Carry a flashlight when you walk at night.
  • Keep Fido under control. Like children, dogs appreciate love and discipline. They feel safe, knowing that you are in charge. Train your pup to walk on one side or the other but not both. A dog that scurries from your left to your right and back again many times during your walk is a major stumbling hazard. So is one that pulls on the leash or stops in front of you without warning.
  • Ask before you pet. Don’t assume that cute means well-behaved or friendly. A high-strung, scared, or startled canine, especially one that rushes you or jumps, can throw you off-balance.
  • Watch out for scooters, skateboarders, and bicyclists. Though they are supposed to be on the street, who can blame them for preferring the safety of the sidewalk? Rare is the skateboarder who dismounts and carries his wheels when he spies a pedestrian, but remember to thank those who do. And steer clear of electric scooters that are abandoned in the middle of a sidewalk or with handlebars barely showing from behind a hedge where they’ve been tossed.
  • Avoid wet patches on the sidewalk, especially wet leaves. They are made for slipping.
  • Leave your phone at home or keep it in your back pocket. Use all your senses when you walk so you can be fully aware of your environment. If you are looking at your screen, you’re not looking at what’s ahead or where you’re placing your feet. The same goes for earbuds. If you can’t hear a skateboarder warning you with “On your left” or the honk of a car, the next thing you hear might be an ambulance coming for you. Besides, enjoy the moment: Soak up the sunshine, take notice of your neighbor’s garden, delight in the bird song, and smell the roses.
  • Look both ways before crossing a street, and look behind you, too, for motorists who may turn right without seeing you. If you don’t, you might suffer a fall and a whole lot more.

Follow these tips to help reduce your chances of falling outside of your home.