Staying Safe on the Ice
Winter is coming in fast across the country. Even the southern states are experiencing freezing temperatures. With cold temperatures, what comes next? Ice! Ice can be beautiful but it is also very dangerous. When roads are iced over they become perilous for drivers and pedestrians alike. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe on the ice in these slippery conditions, and what to do in case you fall down and get injured.
Ice is a major contributor to winter-time injuries and crashes. We all know that it makes surfaces slick. For homes and businesses, getting some ice protection for walkways is crucial.
First, if you know ice is coming, spread cat litter on icy spots to aid with traction. If the surface won’t be damaged you can use road salt. Road salt will help melt ice. To make sure you don’t miss a patch, sweep all snow off of walkways to expose the ice.
Businesses are responsible for keeping their premises safe, so if they do not take precautions against ice they can be held liable. If you slip and fall in front of a business, try to get photos of the immediate area. That can help you prove that there was ice and, potentially, that the business didn’t do enough to treat it.
If you must walk on ice, keep your knees bent, your feet flat, and your center of gravity over your feet as much as possible. Take small steps or shuffle your feet, and stop every so often to break your momentum. It’s better to go slow and get there safe than fall!
The obvious first rule is don’t go driving on ice unless you absolutely have to. Pay attention to road reports in advance so you can be prepared to take an alternate route or skip your trip entirely. In fact, long-haul truckers have a variety of tricks they use to detect when ice is forming on a long trip so they can pull over.
These tricks include:
* Keeping a thermometer in your vehicle. If it gets near 32 degrees, look out. It doesn’t have to be below for ice to form! Temperature is an average.
* Watching the tires of other vehicles. If it looks wet out but you don’t see spray coming from the tires, look out!
* Run a finger over the outside edge of your side mirror and see if there is ice. Of course, if you have heated mirrors this won’t work.
That said, sometimes you can’t skip work because of ice. Drive as slow as you can without endangering other drivers. Apply brakes and gas well in advance and as little as possible. The more momentum you put into your vehicle, the harder it will be the stop and the more likely you are to slip.
If you do start to skid, do NOT hit the brake hard, especially if your vehicle doesn’t have anti-lock brakes. Take your foot off of the accelerator and turn your wheels into the direction of the skid. That will help slow you down.
If you do get into an accident due to ice, it can be difficult to prove fault. Knowing these techniques and using them can help prove that you did everything your car was capable of to avoid the accident. Safe driving on ice doesn’t just protect you from getting in an accident; it can help you get compensation after an accident if someone else drives recklessly.
Like with a slip-and-fall walking accident, take photos of the roadway to prove there was ice. You might even be able to get a picture of the skidmarks through the snow. This is very useful to prove who slid out of control first.
The best advice to follow is if it’s icy is to just stay home unless it’s an emergency. You’ll keep the roads clear, avoid falls, and could avoid a life-changing accident.