As winter comes to Illinois, residents are once again facing the prospect of extraordinarily cold temperatures and a significant accumulation of snow and ice. Under these types of extreme weather conditions, people are much more likely to slip and fall, often resulting in serious injury. To help keep you safe this season, GWC presents the following tips for preventing winter slip-and-fall accidents.
Walk Slowly and Steadily
Minimizing the application of forward-and-backward force is crucial when walking on ice. Be sure to apply force to the ground in a vertical fashion so there is less forward-and-backward motion, which requires friction that icy surfaces are less able to provide.
Take Shorter Steps
Shorter steps reduce forward-and-backward force, allowing you to adapt your stride so it is more effective on low-friction surfaces in order to prevent an unnecessary slip-and-fall this winter.
Keep Away From Melting Ice
The slipperiness of ice varies depending upon its temperature. There is a film of molecules on the surface of ice that becomes more pronounced when it is warmer. As a result, ice is much slipperier when it is melting than when it is frozen, so keep away from melting ice whenever possible.
Watch Out for Changing Surfaces
If you move from a dry surface to an unexpected icy patch, your level of friction may be reduced. Keep an eye out for these types of surface changes and adjust your gait accordingly.
Avoid Stairs and Sloping Surfaces
If an icy surface is slanted when you step on it, your weight may cause your foot to move, especially when a slope is oriented in a downward direction. Because you may be unable to adapt your stride to prevent slipping, it is best to avoid stairs or sloping surfaces. If you do have to negotiate icy steps, however, try to keep your hands out of your pockets, use handrails, and move slowly to prevent winter slip-and-fall accidents.
“Shuffle” When You Walk
If you “shuffle” or “waddle” when you walk, it will help you apply your weight in a straight-down position, thereby allowing you to minimize slippage.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
Rubber soles provide significantly stronger grip than rigid leather soles, making them much better suited to walking on icy surfaces. Cleats, spikes, and treads may also improve traction and allow you to avoid winter slip-and-fall accidents.
Helping Victims of Winter Slip-and-Fall Accidents
We hope you have found these tips useful. Nevertheless, no safety measure is 100 percent effective, particularly under icy or snowy conditions. Even if you take all the necessary precautions, you may still find yourself suffering a winter slip-and-fall accident, potentially sustaining serious injury in the process.
If this occurs because of somebody else’s negligent actions, it is important to know your legal rights. In Illinois, property owners have certain liability protections related to natural accumulations of ice and snow. However, they also have a duty to maintain their property in a condition that is safe for authorized visitors. When they breach that duty, an injured party could pursue a premises liability claim for financial compensation. To increase your chances of a successful outcome, consider doing what so many others have done before you and reach out to the premises liability attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients, GWC is one of the leading Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation you need to help get you and your family the justice you deserve.