Winter weather brings on unpredictable conditions, especially here in Georgia where black ice and dangerous conditions can linger long after the storm has passed. Walking and driving in snow and ice can be especially dangerous here in Atlanta where winter weather is an infrequent visitor. People are often unprepared to handle these conditions or are unsure how to react when forced to get around in these conditions.
Using some basic knowledge when navigating through wintery weather like taking extra care when walking or driving in snow or ice can help prevent injuries that result from car accidents or slips and falls.
If you’re walking
Slipping and falling on ice can be scary. You usually go down so fast you don’t have time to protect yourself from injury. Even if you manage to catch yourself from falling, a slip can lead to muscle strain or other personal injury.
Ice is a tricky thing too since it can appear overnight and then take a while to melt. It’s something to always be on the lookout for in wet, freezing conditions since it can be hard to see both during the day and at night. What you think is a pool of water could actually be a solid sheet of ice, so it’s always a good idea to step carefully.
To avoid slipping on ice:
- Wear footwear designed for icy or snowy conditions.
- Take shorter steps.
- Walk slowly.
- Exhibit extra care when getting out of a vehicle.
- Don’t carry stuff. Your arms can help stabilize you if you start to slip.
You should also keep your home safe in wintry conditions to ensure others don’t slip and fall. Make sure to sand or apply de-icer to any slick areas like your driveway or front porch. Take extra care in clearing walkways for the safety of yourself and others. Place a towel or doormat down inside your front door so that puddles don’t collect from the ice and snow melting off shoes.
If you’re driving
According to the Federal Highway Administration, over a 10 year period, snow and sleet on the roads, across the country, injured almost 55,000 people and resulted in almost 220,000 car crashes. Driving in wintery weather is dangerous and should be avoided when possible. Conditions you may face driving in winter include roads that are wet, icy, or even coated in snow and ice. Sleet and slush also settle on roads, making driving conditions challenging. This pileup of precipitation can make it difficult to see what you’re really driving on. A sheet of ice could hide under newly-fallen snow, making it easier to lose control of your car and cause an accident if you’re not careful.
While you can’t prevent all slips and slides while driving in snowy or icy conditions, there are steps you can take to decrease the risk of a collision:
Keep a snow brush in your car to clear it of snow and ice.
Drive slower so you’re able to fully stop on slicker roads.
Don’t tailgate. Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you.
If you skid, remove your foot from the gas, don’t break, and run the wheel in the direction you want to go until your tires regain traction.
While you might not need to use these strategies too often in Atlanta, the inexperience of local drivers in winter weather means you should take all precautions to decrease your risk of an accident or injury.
What to do if you're injured this winter
Should you sustain an injury or end up in a car accident related to winter weather, you don’t have to deal with the aftermath alone. Working with the experienced team at The Patterson Cozzo Law Firm means an attorney, well-versed in personal injury law, will guide you through getting the compensation you deserve