It’s that time of year again where the leaves are gone, nights are long, and the cold, winter chill is upon us. While Mississippi can’t complain too much about the frightful winter weather, the weather has increasingly become hazardous for the entire country.
It is hard to forget the frigid winter that we had last year. The polar vortex struck Desoto County and the north and south both faced troubles. States on the northern border like New York, Connecticut, Minnesota and Ohio had lots of snow and below freezing wind chills, while the southern states like Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi learned how to deal with ice, and winter traffic delays.
While the north may get a very different winter landscape, the south still faces winter troubles. Car accidents seem to be the most prominent winter accident but slip and falls affect Southaven and surrounding neighborhoods even more.
Slip and falls account for over one million emergency department visits each year and are the leading cause for brain injuries and hip fractures. With over 25,000 slip and falls happening every day, it is important to remember to be safe and on the lookout while walking outside and through local businesses.
The lawyers at The Stroud Law Firm have created winter slip and fall guidelines to encourage Southaven neighbors to be safe and cautious over the winter months. During the winter time, neighbors should remember the three P’s of slip and falls: Plan, Practice, and Prevent.
Plan for Winter Weather
The first step to prevent slip and falls is to prepare and plan for winter events. When winter storms strike, many Southaven residents are left wondering what to do with the minimal resources they have. Here is a list of items that will be beneficial for the winter months. Most items can be bought less than annually.
- Extra non-skid mats: place these mats both inside and outside of the main walkways of your house or workplace. Non-skid mats will move less when people are trying to scuff off the winter ice and snow and will leave the space with less puddles.
- Winter shoes: While we may not need the trekking boots that more snowy states require, it is important to have shoes that you can wear with high tractions on the bottom. Try avoiding leather or plastic soles as those will easily slip when wet. You can always bring your high heels or shoes with you and that will prevent salt marks on your nicer shoes too.
- Car ice scraper: We may not get snow, but ice and sleet have become a problem that cannot be avoided. A car ice scraper will be your best friend during those wintery months.
- Anti-freeze windshield wiper fluid: It is essential to keep a gallon of anti-freeze in your garage, especially if you have young family members in your house. Good anti-freeze fluid (and windshield wipers) can make a difference in whether you can see the road or not.
- Salt or sand: You can buy salt or sand at most general and hardware stores. The salt can help melt ice near your common walking areas, and sand can provide traction. Salt is the best option to cover ice patches.
- Walkway cord covers: With holidays and decorations abuzz during winter, extension cords and walkway cord covers will be your friends. Walkway covers can prevent you from tripping over a cord that is not commonly in your routine. Extension cords can help you turn on your lights or decorations without a hassle.
- Light bulbs: Light bulbs always seem to burn out at the most inconvenient times. Keep extra light bulbs for your outdoor and indoor lights to keep your walkways clear and visible.
Practice Safety Tips Daily
With your extra planning in place, it is important to practice safety slip and fall tips and tricks. The most common time slip and falls occur is when people are walking in a hazardous area or unfamiliar place. When you are walking around, always look around and take in your surroundings. Be aware of hazard signs, potential slippery areas, and where guardrails are properly places.
One of the most important practices that you should follow during all four seasons is walking with your hands near your side, not in your pockets. When your hands are in your pockets, you eliminate any chance of catching yourself if you slip. If you place your hands next to you and outside of your pockets, you will have more balance and crucial moments to catch yourself before you may fall and severely injure yourself.
Many slip and falls occur outside of your property. When you are walking in unfamiliar places—especially parking lots, sidewalks, and walkways, try taking smaller steps. Smaller steps will help regain your balance and will make you more thoughtful of your steps. Never be afraid to tap an unfamiliar walkway with your toes to determine if it is slippery or not.
Even when the weather is cold, you should only carry what you can hold without eliminating your visibility. Never carry something that will cover your feet or your eyes. If you fall with a load in your hands, let go of you load and try to regain your balance or catch yourself. Your life is more important than your groceries or decorations!
Use proper equipment when you are doing work around your house and workplace. Before stepping on a ladder or step-stool, be sure that the equipment is in good condition and on balanced floor. Have a family member or friend stand near the ladder to be your spotter, or call someone if an injury happens.
Last but not least, always have a friend or family member to call if you are in a rut! If you feel uncomfortable doing a specific chore or simply need assistance, it is always best to have someone to watch your back.
Over 300,000 Americans become severely injured from slip and falls each year. Practice these safety tips to decrease your chances of slipping on a wintery slope and maintaining your healthy, active lifestyle.
Prevent Serious Injury from Slip and Falls
When all else fails and you do fall, do not panic. Even in the split of a second, try to place yourself in a position that will have minimum injury. Instead of trying to break your fall with your hands (and breaking a bone), try rolling your head downward and rolling into the fall, using your shoulder as a guide. Try to twist and roll backwards and hit the floor with your thigh, hip, and shoulder. That will hopefully eliminate any brain injury and broken bones.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident due to the negligence of others in the Southaven, Mississippi or Memphis, Tennessee area, contact the experienced lawyers at The Stroud Law Firm today. A slip and fall attorney can be on your side during this troubling time and fight to help you obtain the compensation that you deserve.
We hope you look at these guidelines, remember the three P’s, and be safe this winter!