This is probably not news to seasoned winter hikers, but to me the power of traction on ice is a new gift: I was given a pair of yaktrax as a gift, and have used them with much success this cold and icy winter.
I wish I had something like this earlier, like the days when I worked for hydro, reading meters. These slip-on easily over my hiking boots which enables me to walk with confidence over icy sidewalks, and dig in on the slippery forest trails.
Mine come from the Mountain Equipment Co-Op, and the reviews on line suggest that they wear out fast, so it remains to be seen how long they will last. I only use mine when sidewalks are very icy, or if heading out to a trail. They pack small or can be attached to the outside of a backpack en route, so there is no real need to wear them for every walk.
The first time I used them on ice, I felt like I had some kind of superhuman power, able to help my kids (my 11-year-old insists on wearing her running shoes to school) from wiping out.
There are other models with different designs (and prices) so if you have any experience you would like to share, please post a comment or e-mail me.