With winter right on our heels, it is more important than ever to watch your step. The change of seasons means the return of the holidays and outdoor winter activities.
But winter also brings the potential for slippery conditions. The risk of injuries from slips and falls increases as snow and ice accumulate on sidewalks, parking lots, and other areas. Some hazardous factors that arrive this season include:
- Slippery or wet surfaces
- Inadequate lighting
- Buildup of leaves, snow, and ice
- Poorly maintained sidewalks and parking lots
Don’t let a slip-and-fall accident happen to you. Injuries include not only fractures and broken bones, but damage to your back and head in more serious cases. If you already have experienced a slip-and-fall incident, you can prevent the situation from happening again with your diligence.
When the weather outside becomes frightful, minimize risk and protect yourself with these suggestions.
Wear Proper Footwear
If the shoe fitsthe season, wear it. Find winter footwear designed for comfort and traction, not for style. Although it may not be glamorous to wear a pair of sturdy boots, it will keep you stable on icy surfaces and keep your feet warm (or at least warmer). Shoes or boots should have rough soles.
If you need to wear a pair of heels or something fancy for your day’s activities, just carry around an extra pair of shoes. You can wear your boots out in the snow and then do a quick change once you’re inside.
Take Small Steps
Use small and precise steps when walking outside during the winter. Small steps provide greater stability.
Move slowly when the lighting is unclear. Moving too fast increases the probability that you will face a threat before you notice it. When available, use handrails for balance.
Keep Your Hands Free
Even though your hands might be cold from falling temperatures, don’t put them in your pockets when walking. You may need your hands to break a fall. You will need your armsfor balance.
Instead, wear proper winter gear-including gloves and extra layers-so you can keep your hands and arms free. Then, if you do fall, you can land more safely.
Help the Elderly
While you have to worry about your own well-being, consider the safety of others as well. Slips and falls can be even more dangerous for seniors. If someone appears to be struggling, lend an arm and make the walk safer for both of you.
If you are older or have limited mobility, don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Take your time when moving from one location to another. Step carefully when you can’t tell if the path isclear. Consider planned check-in times with friends or family when the weather creates extra risks.
It is human nature to get distracted by thoughts or other activities. But try to avoid diversions. Taking shortcuts, not watching where you are going, and using a cell phone put you at greater risk for a fall.
Clear Ice and Snow Where You Can
Be sure to shovel the sidewalks and driveways on your own property. Distribute salt over high-traffic areas, especially if there are spots covered in ice. Most people use rock salt to melt ice and stop it from forming.
Stop slip-and-fall injuries during the winter with simple prevention tactics.
If you do become injured after falling during icy conditions, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation. A lawyer will consider all potential hazards, including poor lighting or maintenance, that could have led to your fall. Contact your attorney to review your situation today.