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Tips to Prevent Winter Injuries

Posted in Safety Tips on January 18, 2019

Harsh weather, poor driving conditions, and increased risk of contracting contagious illnesses make winter a challenging time for many. This winter, our West Virginia personal injury attorneys want you to keep a few best practices in mind to prevent some of the most common winter injuries.

Snow and Ice Hazards

Snow and ice accumulation can cause serious injuries in some circumstances. Private and commercial property owners must remove snow and ice accumulation on their properties in accordance with state and local laws. For example, many local governments throughout the United States require all residents to shovel snow from their sidewalks within the first 24 hours of a snowstorm ending. This helps prevent injuries to neighbors, pedestrians, and mail carriers who could potentially suffer slip and fall injuries.

Snow and ice can also pose problems for vehicles. It is important to always clear all of the snow and ice off of your vehicle before driving. If you leave a large chunk of snow or ice on top of your vehicle and it dislodges while driving, it may cause an accident with the drivers behind you. It is also possible for snow and ice to fall off of a vehicle, a low-hanging roof or overhang, or other structure and cause injuries to the people below.

Winter Travel Tips

If you plan to visit friends and family over the winter, expect more traffic congestion than usual. High congestion always leads to more accidents across the country. Numerous other factors that increase the risk of traffic accidents during the winter exist.

  • Drivers traveling through unfamiliar areas are more likely to get into accidents. When traveling to a new area, take time to research your route carefully before leaving. If possible, ask a passenger to navigate for you.
  • Snow and ice on the roads are major hazards. Drive with extra caution and leave more distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you than you would during ideal driving conditions. Snow and ice can cause tires to lose traction and most vehicles require more stopping distance on winter roads.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle with everything you may need in case of an accident or if you become stranded in severe weather.
  • Have a mechanic check your vehicle before the winter and perform any necessary preventative maintenance you may need for the colder months. You may also want to invest in a set of snow tires depending on where you drive.

If you fail to take proper care of your vehicle and cause an accident this winter, you will likely face liability for the resulting damages. Similarly, if someone else causes an accident with your vehicle, consult a West Virginia car accident attorney to determine if you have grounds for a civil claim to recover your damages.

Preventing Winter Illness

Winter is the height of flu season, which generally lasts from October until May each year. A flu shot can increase your resistance to the different flu strains in your area. Investigate your available options and consider the flu shot if you are worried about the flu this winter. Other contagious diseases are also very common during the winter months. Wash your hands frequently with warm water and antibacterial soap to prevent contracting communicable illnesses in your environment. Consider wearing disposable facemasks when walking in public or when riding public transportation vehicles like buses and subway trains.

Many Americans also rely on their home heating systems during the winter, and these devices can be carbon monoxide hazards. Have a professional check your home’s heating system and consider installing carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.

If any other party causes an injury to you or a loved one this winter, consult with an attorney. It is possible to recover medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering compensation from a personal injury claim.