Winter has arrived in Pennsylvania, which means you can expect snowfall, ice, and colder weather. It is important to know the possible hazards you may face so that you can avoid unnecessary risks and personal injuries. Follow these five easy tips to stay safe and healthy this winter season.
As we try to stay warm this winter, many of us utilize space heaters and fire places. According to the US Fire Administration, winter house fires cause nearly 890 deaths each year and approximately two (2) billion dollars in property loss.
If you have a fireplace in your home, you should have your chimney inspected once per year and cleaned as necessary. Avoid leaving a fire or even a candle unattended, particularly if you have pets or children. Keep space heaters away from anything flammable, and do not leave a space heater plugged in while you are not home.
Motor vehicle collisions are particularly common during the winter months due to slush, ice, and snow on the roadways. Remember to prepare your vehicle for dangerous winter weather by inspecting your tires, headlights, and brake lights, monitoring your tire pressure, and ensuring your windshield wiper blades are in working order.
To see clearly while driving, remember to allow yourself extra time to warm up your vehicle. If your defrosters are not enough, invest in an ice scraper to remove snow and ice accumulation on your windshield prior to operating your vehicle so your view is unobstructed.
Nationwide, snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and as many as 100 deaths each year. Sudden exertion, like moving several pounds of snow after being sedentary for many months can put significant strain on the heart. Further, cold weather increases heart rate and blood pressure, causes blood clots more easily, and constricts arteries, which in turn decreases blood supply.
To avoid injury, do not wait several hours before shoveling; you should shovel snow when it is fresh, powdery, and light, and in intervals if possible. You should not shovel after eating or while smoking. Remember to push the snow rather than lifting it, and do not work to the point of exhaustion. Finally, and particularly if you have a history of heart disease, know the signs of a heart attack, and stop immediately and call 911 if you’re experiencing any of them.
Slip and falls are most prevalent in the winter months due to black ice and the accumulation of snow. To avoid injuries from slip and falls, use rock salt to melt the snow and ice in front of your home or business so that you and others can get to your car, mailbox, or front door safely.
Be extra cautious when walking through parking lots and entering stores. Also, be careful when walking inside because snow and ice can melt from shoes and clothes making surfaces extra slippery. Take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction, when walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway. Finally, wear the right shoes for walking in winter weather. Choose shoes with rubber bottoms and good traction and support for the most protection from slip and falls.
In addition to heavy snowfall and high winds during winter months, it also gets dark earlier in the day. Due to the combination of low visibility due to snow and low visibility due to the lack of light, it becomes difficult for drivers and pedestrians to see one another, as well as to see other obstacles in their path. To avoid collisions from occurring, decrease your driving and walking speed on streets with slush, ice and snow. Make sure that you have made eye contact with drivers and pedestrians before making any sudden movements.
Drivers should use extra caution when approaching intersections and off ramps, especially bridges and overpasses. Remember to allow extra space between vehicles and keep vehicle headlights on to increase visibility.
We know that unfortunately, even if you follow these five simple safety tips, there are other individuals who may be careless or negligent and cause you injury. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to call Messa & Associates, P.C. We are here to help.
The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates, P.C. are experienced with cases involving defective space heaters, motor vehicle accidents, and slip-and-fall injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured, please do not hesitate to contact us. Call toll free, 877-MessaLaw, for a free consultation. You may also submit an online inquiry to receive a free case evaluation.