Pennsylvania is known for severe winter weather. Each year, several storms blow through the Northeast, leaving several feet of snow and ice in their wake. Navigating winter weather conditions is a part of life in the Pittsburgh area, and this is a treacherous time especially for pedestrians.
There are tens of thousands of slip and fall accidents involving ice every year, and many of them result in moderate to severe injuries. Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable to slipping on snow and ice during the winter, and it also happens frequently in outdoor work settings such as construction or utilities.
With icy streets, parking lots, and sidewalks to deal with for the next few months, it is important to be prepared and take steps to prevent slipping on snow and ice:
Put on the Right Footwear
Treading safely on snow and ice starts with wearing the right shoes or boots. The best footwear for icy conditions is slip resistant boots ideally with nonskid rubber treads that provide better traction on ice. If you do not already have a suitable pair of winter boots that are slip resistant, you should be able to find one at a local sporting goods store.
Exit Vehicles Carefully
One of the most difficult transitions during winter travel is stepping out of a vehicle and onto the outside ground. The reason being that you may not know whether or not you are stepping onto a slippery surface. For example, when you pull into a parking lot that was recently plowed, there might still be a thin layer of snow with ice underneath. Be especially careful when you get into and out of your vehicle.
As you proceed, walk slowly and carefully to your destination. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get where you are going and do not be in a rush. You never know when you might run into a slippery spot, so the best way to deal with this is to walk slower and wider (penguin style) and use your arms for greater stability. Also make sure to use handrails when available and bring along a cane or walker if you have dulled foot sensation (from diabetes) or other balancing problems.
Keep your Hands Free
It should go without saying that you should not be looking at your phone sending texts or doing other types of electronic activity while you are trying to walk through snowy and icy conditions. But beyond that, you should put your phone and any other items you may have away in either your pocket or a backpack (except for a cane or walker as mentioned earlier). This will free up your hands and arms to help you stay balanced.
Watch for Problem Areas
Be on the lookout for icy patches including uneven surfaces and icy ground that are hidden underneath the snow. Watch out for slick black ice in particular as this catches many pedestrians off guard and causes a lot of nasty falls. Black ice is formed when wet pavement re-freezes, and it often appears to be just a wet surface when in reality it is solid ice. Check for potentially slippery areas ahead by tapping them with your foot or cane.
The dangers of drinking and driving are talked about often, but the problems that can come from walking while intoxicated are sometimes overlooked. In the wintertime especially, you should avoid alcohol as much as possible when you are walking on snow and ice. Intoxication can cause major balancing problems and make you more susceptible to a slip and fall accident.
Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident Involving Ice? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for Legal Help
Even when we follow all of the best safety practices, slipping on snow and ice can still happen in spite of our best efforts. When this happens, get immediate medical attention, even if you do not feel like you are hurt all that bad. Sometimes, the cold and freezing temperatures can make it difficult to detect an injury right away, but the symptoms could show up later. It is always best to get checked out and be on the safe side.
If the slip and fall injury happened at work or any public place, report the accident to the appropriate person or entity and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. If your injury resulted from someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Before speaking with a representative for the responsible party, talk to a lawyer to discuss your legal rights and options.
For skilled legal guidance with personal injuries in Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania,
contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman. Message us online or call our office today at 412-567-1232 or toll-free at 866-466-5789 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We look forward to serving you!