Slips and falls are the primary cause of the 640 annual weather-related fatalities across the country. If you’ve lived in the Midwest for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly experienced winter-related injuries yourself. Hopefully, yours have never been so severe that they’ve required legal assistance, but that can change in the blink of an eye. If it does, a competent Mount Clemens slip and fall accident attorney can help get you back on your feet. But what steps should you take to avoid a slip and fall injury altogether during the most dangerous time of the year?
Wear the Right Shoes
Wearing the wrong footwear, or relying on worn treads, is the main reason for outdoor slips and slides during the winter. Michigan’s coldest season is so volatile that 32% of the annual statewide accidental claims were reported in the winter of 2013-2014 alone. Walking is a basic mode of transportation that requires specific safety precautions, just like driving. In the Midwest, snow tires are just par for the course in the iciest and snowiest regions. So why would you chance wearing poor footwear?
Keep Your Arms Free
When it comes to slipping on ice, your arms are the most important defensive tool in your personal arsenal. Obviously, if you need to pack the car with kid supplies or do a grocery haul, this can be problematic. But in most cases, it’s easy enough to keep your arms free during winter walking. If you have to carry school or work supplies, opt for a backpack as opposed to piling up the items in your arms and leaving yourself defenseless. And regardless of how cold it is or how much of a hurry you’re in, avoid the single trip 20-bag grocery haul into the house. Your body and budget will thank you.
Expect Black Ice
Black ice is the bane of Michigan winter. As the weather warms and refreezes, thicker ice melts and reforms, finally creating a paper-thin sheet of glass on the surface. So-named “black ice” for its invisibility on pavement and asphalt, this slick substance can literally knock the wind right out of your sails, regardless of how slow you’re moving or how well you’ve planned for your outing. Black ice is a primary cause of serious injuries and the need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Always be aware that this type of ice can be anywhere after the slightest thaw and be especially careful on walkways or roads that have any type of shading.
Exercise Caution Around Your Vehicle
It’s all too common to forget caution around a sitting vehicle and race to get inside… or out of it and into a warm building for that matter. After all, what could be problematic there? Well, cars still get hot in the winter and once they sit a few minutes, the snow and ice surrounding the vehicle begin to melt and refreeze. What may look like obvious slush or a pool of water could actually be extensive ice. One wrong move can lead to an unexpected trip to the emergency room, so go slow and be aware of your surroundings.
Watch Out for Unplanned Indoor Skating Rinks
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls of some kind account for 8 million annual trips to the emergency room. Many of these occur indoors. In fact, half of all home deaths are caused by accidents occurring on the ground level. Hardwood, tile, and even carpet can collect and retain ice and pooling water, transforming your homestead into havoc within seconds. Businesses also often use low pile carpet, tile or marble floors which turn into skating rinks during the winter months. Being extra careful during the winter can help avoid unnecessary pain and suffering. But if it still occurs, a slip and fall accident attorney may be able to help you get back on your feet.
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