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Falling on Ice

  1. Mar 9, 2009 #1
    I was wondering since when you walk you are pushing backwards, therefore frictions pushes you forwards, so when you fall on ice why do you feet slide forward? Or does that just depend on how you fall? Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2009 #2
    I believe this has more to do with how the human body falls. When you simply lose balance you tend to fall backwards.
  4. Mar 9, 2009 #3


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    In most falls on ice, you land on your bottom (tokus in Yiddish).
    It often happens when you try to slow down because of the ice.
    One more hint. Using your arms for balance works on dry ground, but causes you to slip on ice because your feet have no traction.
  5. Mar 9, 2009 #4


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    When you're walking, your velocity is constant, so the average of the horizontal forces over time cancel. You push forwards with your front foot and backwards with the back foot. As you place your front foot down, it's a dynamic situation, and more likely to slip, than the back foot, so the front foot ends up sliding forwards.

    Also if a person is just standing, the pivot point is at the back of the foot allowing a person to lean forwards a bit but still keep the center of gravity over the foots contact patch. However the person can't lean back because there very little foot contact patch behind the ankle. This would make it more likely for a person to fall backwards.
  6. Mar 10, 2009 #5


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    I'd put it the other way - you tend to fall if your feet slip forwards.
    If your foot slips backwards, you can compensate by leaning forward.
    If your foot slips forward.. People are less comfortable with leaning backwards. And most of us don't have backs that bend that way.
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