For those of us who have lived in cold climates for extended periods, we sometimes become used to dealing with snow, sleet, and ice, thus forgetting some basic winter safety. Remember that whether a business owner, homeowner or renter, you are legally responsible for making sure your property is safe for others. To protect yourself and others from injuries that could lead to diminished health, loss or income and legal matters, here are some winter safety tips to review.
1. Watch out for puddles both inside and outside. Make note of any puddles you see outside, since they could later freeze and form black ice.
2. Take advantage of handrails in this weather and take your time on stairs, especially outside. Even if steps look clear, they could be covered with ice.
3. Don’t take shortcuts across a field or trudge through snow to save some time, but these areas are much less likely to be clear of hazards. The snowfall may cover up sheets of ice, holes or obstacles that may cause a nasty fall.
4. Wear non-skid shoes or boots to help prevent falls and prevent your feet from becoming cold and wet. Besides being uncomfortable, extended exposure to cold can lead to frostbite.
5. Avoid overexertion. In extremely cold temperatures, it is easier to overtax your body. Be extremely careful when shoveling snow, pushing a stuck car, or walking in deep snow.
6. Be careful of frostbite and hypothermia. If you notice someone is experiencing numbness, waxy and/or pale skin, slow or slurred speech, incoherence, memory loss, disorientation, or uncontrollable shivering, get medical attention right away.
7. Check your rain gutters for leaks. Not only can unexpected patches of ice be dangerous on your walkway, but they also are considered unnatural accumulations of ice. If you don’t take care of them, you could be held liable for another person’s injuries.
8. Have an emergency plan. In case power goes out, you get stuck in the house, or experience another emergency, your family needs to be prepared with supplies and a well-known plan of what to do. Preparation helps you avoid panic and associated dangers.
9. Protect and winterize your home. Insulate windows and doors. Check your central heating for any problems. Locate and insulate any pipes susceptible to freezing. Know what to do if pipes burst. Any actions that can help your home better survive the winter are worth taking.
10. If you must drive in inclement weather, do so slowly and carefully with proper precautions. Make sure your tires are appropriate for the weather, and take care on icy roads. While big roads should be sanded ahead of your commute, never assume a road is safe.
11. Dress in warm, waterproof layers that cover you head, hands, feet, ears and neck.
12. Keep in mind wind chill when preparing for your day. Just because the thermometer is above freezing does not mean that the weather will feel that way once you are outside. Be aware of the wind chill and prepare accordingly.
The most important thing is to take care of yourself and your family this winter. By following these tips, you are going to be much safer this winter.
If you or a loved one are injured this winter and you believe another party is at fault, contact us. During our free consolation, we will review the facts with you and determine the appropriate next steps. With over 40 years of experience in personal injury cases, our attorneys work with each client on a one-to-one basis to help ensure the most favorable outcome possible.