As winter approaches, it’s not just the cold and snow that you need to prepare for; it’s also the increased risk of slip and fall accidents.
Slipping and falling is a leading cause of serious, disabling injuries in adults, and winter can be especially dangerous due to icy sidewalks, wet floors from tracked-in ice and snow, and slippery exterior steps.
To help you stay safe over the next several months, we’ve put together a list of five essential tips to reduce your risk of a slip and fall accident this winter.
1. Wear Appropriate Footwear
One of the most effective ways to minimize your risk of a slip and fall accident during the winter is by wearing the right footwear. Buy and wear sturdy, non-slip winter boots or tennis shoes with a good grip. Look for boots or shoes with rubber or non-slip soles to ensure better traction on slippery surfaces.
Avoid shoes with smooth soles or high heels, as they offer little traction and can increase your chances of falling. When you’re indoors, make sure to knock loose any snow, ice, or moisture from your shoes on entering to prevent tracking in ice and snow, which can create a slip hazard for yourself and others.
2. Watch for Wet, Slick, and Icy Surfaces
In winter, ice and water are your worst enemies. Be vigilant when walking on paved pathways, parking lots, and other paved outdoor areas. Always assume that any shiny or wet surface is slippery, and tread carefully anytime you’re outdoors or in areas where water can accumulate.
When walking on potentially icy surfaces, try to keep your weight centered over your feet and maintain a slight bend in your knees to help you react quickly if you start to slip. Using sand or ice melt on your driveway and walkways can also help prevent ice from forming, making them safer for you, your loved ones, and any visitors to walk on.
3. Watch Your Step
Pay close attention to where you’re walking. Keep an eye out for obstacles, uneven surfaces, and hazards such as patches of ice or snow. If possible, take a longer path around accumulated ice and snow to reduce your risk of falling. You should also avoid distractions like texting or talking on your phone while walking, as distractions and not having your hands free can make you more likely to fall and suffer an injury.
If you’re navigating a particularly treacherous area, consider taking smaller steps and keeping your arms out to your sides for balance. Always use handrails when available, especially when ascending or descending stairs, as they provide extra support and stability.
4. Plan Your Outings Carefully
During the winter months, it’s essential to plan your outings with care. If possible, choose indoor locations or well-maintained outdoor paths for your activities. If you need to go out in inclement weather, consider the following:
- Check the weather forecast: Stay informed about upcoming snow or freezing rain events and plan your trips accordingly.
- Travel during the day: If you can, try to schedule your outings during the daylight hours when ice and slippery surfaces are more visible and less likely to cause injuries.
- Follow the news and road reports: Keep an eye on local news and road conditions. This can help you avoid conditions that can lead to sidewalks and walkways rapidly becoming more dangerous, such as freezing rain and dramatic drops in temperature.
5. Keep Your Home Safe
Finally, don’t forget to take preventive measures at home to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents. Here are a few steps to consider:
- Clear your walkways and driveway: Shovel snow and remove ice promptly from your property. Use salt or ice melt to prevent the formation of ice on walking paths.
- Ensure there’s sufficient lighting: Adequate outdoor and indoor lighting is essential to see and avoid potential hazards.
- Use non-slip rugs and mats: Place slip-resistant mats at entrances to capture moisture and prevent it from being tracked inside.
- Maintain and repair handrails: Check the condition of handrails on stairs and ramps. Make necessary repairs to ensure they’re secure and stable.
Our Oklahoma Slip and Fall Injury Attorneys Want to Help
Winter may bring its own unique charm, but it also brings an increased risk of slip and fall accidents due to slippery surfaces and inclement weather. Following these five tips can significantly reduce your risk of being involved in a slip and fall accident this winter.
If you or a loved one does experience a slip and fall accident due to someone else’s negligence, the Oklahoma slip and fall lawyers at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers want to help.
Contact us anytime for a free case review. It’s our goal to help injured victims like you get maximum compensation.