When temperatures plummet in Pennsylvania, many of us wake up to icy sidewalks and walkways. Slipping on these icy surfaces can result in broken bones, head trauma and other serious injuries.

Try these safety tips to protect yourself from a slip-and-fall accident this winter.

Stay alert

Know where slips tend to occur during your daily routine, and take extra caution in those areas. Examples include when entering and exiting your car, in the lobby of a building and on your front walkway in the morning. Be aware of black ice, which can cause you to fall even though it does not immediately appear hazardous.

Wear the right shoes

In cold weather, stick to boots or heavy-soled shoes that provide traction on slick pavement. Rubber or neoprene treads are your best bet for a sure step. Avoid leather or plastic soles, which have limited grip.

Prepare outdoor surfaces

Before a predicted storm or overnight drop in temperature, salt the surfaces on your property to prevent ice from forming. After a winter storm, clear snow and ice from your sidewalks and driveway as quickly as possible. Apply de-icing solution to keep the moisture on the ground from refreezing.

Use proper form

Walking carefully can often reduce your risk of a fall. Test possibly slick ground with a gentle tap of the foot before placing your entire weight on the surface. Take small, slow steps, almost a shuffling gait, to keep from losing your balance. Bend slightly and remain low to the ground, keeping the bulk of your body directly above your feet. When a walkway is icy, divert to a safer route if possible (which often means walking on the grass).

If you fall on ice because an individual or business failed to clear the sidewalk or parking lot, you may have a personal injury case. This type of lawsuit covers damages caused by third-party negligence. When a fall occurs at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you become injured.