Get Prepared for Winter Walking and Snow Shoveling Safety

people shovel snow from a drive way next to a house

Importance of Preventing Injuries Caused by Winter Weather 

For many residents of and visitors to the Northeast, the winter months will bring cold temperatures, snow, and ice. It is important to be prepared for winter weather and to understand the accompanying injury risks such as slips and falls. Now is a great time to understand and be aware of the dangers of walking on icy sidewalks and shoveling snowy walkways.  

Many accidents happen while people are trying to shovel stairs, walkways, and driveways on their own or on  someone else’s property. Sometimes those accidents involve muscle strains or sprains. Yet other types of accidents can happen during snow shoveling, too. For instance, a person might slip and fall while attempting to shovel a walkway.

 Slips and falls can happen almost anywhere in the wintertime, and sometimes icy patches are difficult to see. This is particularly true when you are crossing the street and there is ice on the asphalt. At the same time, ice can be difficult to spot on a sidewalk, or you may have no other choice but to cross a patch of ice if the sidewalk has not been salted properly. Slips and falls can also occur in a driveway or parking lot when you are attempting to get into or out of a motor vehicle. You do not need to be walking briskly in order to get hurt in a slip and fall accident during the winter. Even stepping out onto ice can be extremely dangerous. People routinely suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), muscle strains, and broken bones as a result of slips and falls. For the elderly, a fracture can be especially hazardous to that person’s health and well-being.

Ways to Avoid Wintertime Injuries  

What can you do to avoid an injury in the wintertime, especially an injury caused by an icy slip and fall? An article in WTOP recommends the following safety measures to avoid getting hurt:

  • Wear appropriate footwear, which means selecting shoes or boots with  “heavy treading” as well as “flat bottoms” allows to put your entire foot down on the ground when you are walking;
  • Wear clothing that allows you to be seen by drivers, especially in the event that you do slip and fall on the road during the winter. Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing;
  • Always walk cautiously on all sidewalks and in parking lots even if it looks like there is no ice;
  • Know that black ice can happen, making it especially difficult to see icy patches in the early hours of the morning;
  • Always walk very cautiously down any outdoor stairs and hold onto railings when they are available;
  • Enter buildings slowly, recognizing that melted ice or snow on the interior entryway could cause a slip and fall; and
  • Do not take pedestrian shortcuts because you are more likely to encounter a walkway that has not been shoveled or salted.

If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, you should speak with a premises liability lawyer about your options.

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