The Front Range has already gotten a few freezing, snow-laden winter storms, and it's only December. With the winter season still ahead of us, our law firm wants to take the opportunity to remind our fellow Boulder locals to stay safe out there when the streets and sidewalks get slippery. Serious slip and fall accidents can cause broken bones, head injuries, scars, lacerations and other trauma. We also want to remind fellow motorists of some of the basic ways you can reduce your car accident risk when conditions get wintery.
Safety on Icy and Snow-Packed Roads
When winter storms roll in, we're all familiar with the amount of snow and ice that accumulates on Colorado roads. Sometimes, if there aren't days of sunshine and warm temps following the storm, these poor road conditions linger. Below, we look at a few ways to prepare yourself.
- In advance of winter storms: Check the tread and air pressure of your tires. Tires that are in good shape will perform better on the roads. Also check your windshield wipers and replace them if they aren't doing a good job of clearing the glass. Check your windshield washer fluid reservoir. You'll want plenty of washer fluid to keep your windshield clear in the snow and slush.
- Before driving in the weather: Completely clear your vehicle of snow and ice, including the roof, on top of the trunk and hood, all the lights and the bumpers. Clearing snow is important because it will fly off your vehicle and could get in other drivers' fields of vision. Completely defrost the windows so that you can see out of all of them effectively. Never warm your car up inside a garage or shed.
- On the road: Drive slower when there is snow and ice on the road. Reduced speed somewhat compensates for lack of traction. Increase your following distance so that you have more time to react to sudden braking or skidding of vehicles in front of you. Accelerate and brake gradually and smoothly; sudden stops and forced starts will likely lead to spin outs and loss of traction.
Another good tip to keep in mind has to do with time management. We all tend to have days when we are running late. When winter weather is present, it's important to build extra time into your schedule. Allowing yourself double or triple the amount of time to get to work means you'll feel less stressed and less tempted to speed. A little patience can help you get to work safely because you'll be making more rational, less emotional decisions while you drive.
Prevent Slip and Falls on Foot
Traveling on foot has its own hazards during the winter. Slip and falls are not always avoidable, but here are a few preventive measures:
- Remove snow and ice from walkways and sidewalks surrounding your home
- Wear winter shoes with good grip
- Use handrails whenever they're available
- Take small, shuffling steps if you're walking across an icy surface
- Walk slowly and mindfully
- Keep your hands free – out of your pockets, and don't hold on to your phone or other objects you can stow away
- Wipe your feet or remove your shoes before walking across tile indoors
Sometimes a slip and fall during the winter is the result of someone else's negligence. It takes an experienced lawyer knowledgeable about Colorado laws, like Chris Jeffress, to determine if someone (such as a landlord, shop owner, grocery store, etc.) is responsible for the fall that injured you. This is called a premises liability case because it involves someone's legal responsibility for creating safe walking surfaces.