Making sure you don't slip on ice and snow. It's the safe thing to do.

Making sure you don't slip on ice and snow. It's the safe thing to do.

When the weather is terrible it’s time to work, safely

Back in the day, when I was a working newsman, I’d begin the day by confirming the previous night’s weather report with a look out the window or listen to the gleeful screams of my kids who just learned they’d been given a day of freedom because the schools were closed.

Then, no matter the forecast or the reason for closed schools, I’d head out into the world to report on the reasons the rest of the populace was told to stay home, not to venture out on warning of death and dismemberment for those foolish enough to ignore authorities.

YakTrax for walking on snow and ice.

I’d travel by car, truck, foot, whatever it took to report the results of the failings of others to listen to the warnings. I’d stand in the middle of a closed interstate highway watching as law enforcement and wrecker crews cleared away flotsam and jetsam strewn across the asphalt. I watched as families picked their way through an overgrown field trying to retrieve keepsakes scattered by tornado winds across miles of farm land. I watched as families stood on the muddy porches of the flood damaged homes downstream from the dam that was supposed prevent flooding.

No matter the weather and its associated warnings to never venture out, a news photographer ignores all orders.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be safe. Stepping into a hazardous situation has its dangers and rewards. For a news photographer it becomes a balance just as a war photographer always wants looks for where they is active conflict. There’s always danger.

That doesn’t mean I don’t try to be safe.

The photo at top is one of my most important winter-time accessories. A set of YakTrax Pro Walkers from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

In the winter, these traction providing coils of steel laced with expanding rubber grip into everything but the thickest and coldest ice too keep my butt from slipping and sliding into the street or onto the ground.

I keep them in the car where they often are quickly stretched onto my boots for a walk through the woods or across a sidewalk that has yet to be cleared by local merchants. The appear to do no harm to the soles of my boots and I’m into the third year on this pair.

The only way I’ve found to damage them is walking on cleared sidewalk and road surfaces. The rough surface abrades the steel although the damage isn’t immediately severe enough to cause failure. As I noted, I’m in my second year on this set and they show very little wear.

It’s too late to get a pair for the expected heavy sleet and freezing rain. But, while you’re out covering the news, like a good news photographer, stop by dicks and pick up a pair. It’s the safe thing to do.

Note: Those are Red Wing Boots. Expensive but the best wearing and fitting boot I’ve ever worn.

Eds Note: Previously published on (now deceased)

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