Slippery winter conditions cause a great deal of slipping accidents in Finland. The best ways to prevent accidents are to concentrate on walking, avoid hurrying and, above all, wearing anti-slip guards or footwear appropriate for the weather conditions. Studded shoes, for example, provide a good grip even in the toughest weather conditions, such as on icy surfaces when the temperature fluctuates below and above zero.
However, approximately one in three (35%) working-age respondents in a recent survey* by the Finnish Road Safety Council considers studded shoes or anti-slip guards too difficult to use when commuting, even if the conditions are very slippery. In fact, more than two in five (44%) respondents admitted that they never wear anti-slip guards or studded or high-traction shoes when walking in slippery winter conditions. Approximately one in three (32%) reported using one of these aids at least most of the time.
“It is quite human that many people find it difficult to use anti-slip guards and studded shoes. It does add one more thing to busy mornings. However, people of working age experience a lot of slipping and falling accidents, and usually you do not see the accident coming. Therefore, it is worth considering whether it would be better to be prepared for slippery conditions in advance than to regret it afterwards,” says Eero Kalmakoski, Contact Manager for the Finnish Road Safety Council.
Slipping and falling accidents can easily have unpleasant and long-lasting consequences. For example, it takes a long time for a fractured wrist to recover. A recent doctoral dissertation from the University of Oulu demonstrated that in slippery winter conditions the risk of wrist fracture was 2.5 times higher than in non-winter conditions.
“We are all probably familiar with the feeling of trying to stay upright with tense muscles on a slippery pavement. Thus, using studded shoes or anti-slip guards also prevents tight muscles – not to mention the more relaxed walking. Try them and give yourself a good new habit,” Kalmakoski encourages.
Choose the right product with the help of a table of options
The ‘Pysy pystyssä’ campaign has compiled a comprehensive table of different anti-slip and footwear options for slippery winter conditions. You can use the table to easily find out which product is best suited for you to prevent slipping and falling accidents.
“The table shows, among other things, the purpose, benefits, things to consider and price range for each option. The most important thing is that you choose the shoe or anti-slip guard for your own specific needs to maximise the benefits,” explains Campaign Chair Kaarina Tamminiemi.
Today's range of anti-slip products is very wide, so there is a suitable option for everyone and all ages. See the table and related report here (In Finnish).
*The Finnish Road Safety Council surveyed the opinions of working-age people about moving in slippery conditions in autumn 2019. The survey was carried out by Kantar TNS Oy on behalf of the Finnish Road Safety Council, and a total of 1,039 working people aged 25–65 responded to the survey.
Here’s how you can prepare for slippery conditions and stay on your feet:
- Pay attention to your choice of footwear – shoes with a good grip have low, wide heels and an outsole made of soft material with good traction.
- Use anti-slip guards or studded/high-traction shoes to get the best grip in slippery conditions.
- Focus on walking. If you are paying attention to things like your mobile phone, instead of walking, you can be taken by surprise by the slippery conditions.
- Be prepared. When you are alert, you are better equipped to avoid slippery areas.
- Check for warnings. You can check the weather warning for pedestrians on the Finnish Meteorological Institute website, for example.
- Provide feedback on the maintenance of courtyards and passageways or spread gritting sand on the yard yourself, if possible. Spreading gritting sand and clearing away snow helps others stay upright, as well.
- Maintain good physical health. Being in control of your own body and being in good physical condition help you to remain upright.
General information about the campaign
Campaign Chair Kaarina Tamminiemi (Tel. +358 (0)40 577 4614, kaarina.tamminiemi [at] cancer.fi)
On preventing slipping accidents and survey results
Contact Manager Eero Kalmakoski, the Finnish Road Safety Council (tel. +358 (0)20 7282 380, eero.kalmakoski [at] liikenneturva.fi)
On weather warning for pedestrians
Senior Meteorologist Sari Hartonen, Finnish Meteorological Institute (tel. +358 (0)29 539 3444, sari.hartonen [at] fmi.fi)
The ‘Pysy pystyssä’ anti-slipping campaign (in Finnish): pysypystyssä.fi
Warnings (including weather warning for pedestrians): en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/warnings
Your observations (in Finnish): ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/omat-havainnot
The ‘Pysy pystyssä’ campaign promotes pedestrian safety in the winter. The campaign can be heard on the radio and seen on TV (Yle) and social media 13–26 January 2020. Follow: #pysypystyssä and @kotitapaturma.
‘Pysy pystyssä’ campaign partners:
Aivovammaliitto, EHYT Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention, the Network for Preventive Substance Abuse Work, Finance Finland, City of Helsinki, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities, Finnish Road Safety Council, LähiTapiola, National Defence Training Association of Finland (MPK), Nikander ja Wiinikka Oy, Partioaitta, Sarva studded shoes, Finnish Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Finnish National Rescue Association, Finnish Red Cross, SOSTE Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health, Finnish Swimming Teaching and Lifesaving Federation, Taitavat Suutarit ry, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) and Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. The Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA) also supports the campaign.