As the season change, so do the types of injuries people can sustain. This winter, keep a few best practices in mind to prevent common winter illnesses and injuries.
Winter Road Hazards
Driving is inherently more dangerous during the winter for several reasons. During the holiday season, traffic escalates in most areas of the country. This is often due to people traveling to visit friends and family for holiday celebrations. Shorter daylight hours mean many people may be driving in the dark during their commutes home after work. Low visibility, impaired visibility from rain, sleet, and snow, and heavier traffic congestion, in general, all mean winter driving entails more hazards than driving during warmer weather.
Snow and ice accumulation on the roads is another major hazard. Major highways, interstate routes, and larger roads, residential areas generally rely on plowing services from the local municipality and this may take longer. It is essential for all drivers to use extra caution during the winter and drive at acceptable speeds for conditions. A few tips can help make winter driving safer.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes flares and first aid supplies in case of an accident or stranding in severe weather.
- Plan ahead, leave plenty of time to reach your destination, and avoid rushing and speeding at all times in winter driving conditions.
- Drive defensively. Avoid engaging with aggressive drivers, keep to the right whenever possible, and stay around the speed limit without impeding the flow of traffic.
- Eliminate distractions. Avoid cell phone use behind the wheel and consider having a passenger act as your navigator and manage a GPS or phone while you focus on driving.
Injuries From Snow and Ice
Snow and ice accumulation can also cause slip and fall injuries and pose other hazards. Large snow embankments that accumulate on the roof of a home can dislodge once the temperature rises a few degrees. Even a slight vibration can cause a cascade of snow, ice chunks, and icicles to fall and injure anyone standing below. Be very cautious working under overhanging roofs, and work slowly and methodically when clearing ice and snow to prevent back injuries and soft tissue injuries like pulled muscles and sprains.
Snow and ice in walking paths is a slip and fall hazard. Business owners must ensure they clear away snow and ice accumulation as quickly as possible after a winter storm once the weather stabilizes. Private property owners must ensure they remove any snow and ice accumulation that could potentially injure visitors. Most local governments also uphold snow removal ordinances that require homeowners to clear the snow off of the sidewalks in front of their homes to prevent injuries to neighbors, mail carriers, and other pedestrians.
Preventing Winter Illnesses
Winter is the height of flu season. It is wise for everyone to receive a flu shot whenever possible to prevent this potentially life-threatening illness. Colds and sinus congestion are also common and treatable with over-the-counter medications. You can avoid many winter illnesses with a few best practices.
- Wear warm clothing including a hat, gloves, and scarf as necessary in cold temperatures.
- Wash your hands often with warm, soapy water.
- Consider wearing a facemask to prevent communicable illnesses while walking in public or while riding public transportation. You can find facemasks at most drugstores at relatively low costs, and they are disposable.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to anyone you know is sick. This may be difficult for people like parents tending to their sick children or people who work in the healthcare field.
These are just a few ways you can prevent winter illnesses and injuries. If another party caused any type of winter injury to you or a loved one, contact a Phoenix personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.