As the winter weather draws near, icy and snowy conditions turn sidewalks, driveways and building entrances into hazardous slipping zones. New York homeowners and business owners alike have a legal obligation to shovel, salt and clear away ice and snow that can pose a threat to guests and visitors. Unfortunately, if they fail to do so, it can result in serious slip-and-fall injuries.
How can I avoid a slip-and-fall injury?
Even the surest of foot are liable to slip-and-fall injuries, especially during the wintertime. Knowing what preventative measures you can take is the best way to avoid sustaining a slip-and-fall injury.
- Wear proper footwear – Winter is not the time to be navigating icy sidewalks in heels or leather-soled shoes. They don’t offer enough traction to keep you upright should you step onto a slippery patch. Flat, sturdy shoes with rubber soles are a better choice of footwear during the wintertime. You can always carry other shoes with you to change into when you get inside.
- Walk cautiously – Long strides increase the chances of your feet sliding out from underneath you. When navigating slippery areas, take slow, cautious steps and pay careful attention to where your feet step. Having a slight bend to your knees can help you stay balanced. Avoid running or walking fast, even when you’re in a hurry.
- Use railings when available – Snow can hide icy patches from view, and black ice is difficult to spot. So, be sure to use hand rails even if you don’t think you need to. If there aren’t any railings available, use surrounding gates, barriers, ledges, walls or door handles to help you maintain your balance.
- Keep your hands free – Avoid walking with your hands in your pockets. If you need to keep them warm, consider investing in a pair of gloves or mittens. When you have your hands free, you can use them to balance, brace yourself or break your fall if you do slip.
- Don’t carry large or heavy objects – Carrying heavy objects can throw off your balance when you slip on a patch of ice. It can cause damage to the object and to you if it falls on top of you. In addition, large objects can obscure your view and make it difficult to see where you’re walking. If you need to transport large or heavy items, consider using a cart or wagon.
Seek legal help for your slip-and-fall injuries
Navigating slippery surfaces is inevitable during the wintertime. Keeping yourself safe by being cautious and attentive can help you avoid a serious slip-and-fall injury. However, in the unfortunate event that a property owner failed to maintain safe walkways and you suffered a slip-and-fall injury because of it, seeking compensation can help you manage and recover from your injuries.