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How to Avoid an Icicle in the Eye

And other cold-weather mishaps.

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Illustration by Peter Arkle  

The sidewalk is frozen solid.
“Try a penguin­like shuffle: Set down your whole flat foot, so that all of the gripping surface of your shoe is hitting the ground at once. Wait until your center of gravity is settled into that first step before taking your next flat step. Meanwhile, keep your arms spread out on either side for balance.” —Lynn Lau, Canada Safety Council

I’m terrified of falling icicles.
“Of course, stay clear of awnings, but especially avoid pedestrian walkways on ­bridges, which funnel really strong winds.” —Ross Dickman, National Weather Service New York

Prospect Park Lake looks walkable.
If you’re really nervous, “use a chisel to pick a small hole in the ice to determine its thickness. Four inches of ice is generally safe to walk on.” —Peter Constantakes, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

So I licked a flagpole.
“Call 911—or text a friend to call on your behalf, and then have them immediately bring you a cup of warm water. Pour as quickly as you can; the longer your tongue is left on the pole, the more heat will be conducted away from it, rupturing more and more cells.” —Dr. Jeffery Pellegrino, the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council


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