February 17, 2015

Safety Tips to Avoid a Winter Accident & Injuries in NYC

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

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The winter months in New York bring snowy and icy sidewalks, and there is a far higher risk of a slip and fall accident. You can protect yourself as much as possible by following certain safety tips. Whether you are out shopping for holiday gifts, going to work, or just involved in everyday tasks, staying alert to tripping hazards could save you from a serious injury accident.

If you have been injured, you may have the right to pursue damages from the owner or manager of the property in a premises liability claim.

Read these tips that can keep you and your family safe from the various types of accidents and injuries over the winter months:

Safe Walking Tips for Winter Weather in NY

  • Wear the Right Footwear
Pedestrian Winter Footwear Safety TipYour footwear makes a big difference in your ability to avoid a slip and fall. Wear boots with good rubber tread, manufactured specifically for winter walking. Carry your other shoes with you, even if you are just going to walk a few steps from the curb to your place of work. Those few steps can be a disaster if you have slippery, smooth footwear.
  • Watch for Vehicles
winter3You may feel safe when walking on the sidewalk or waiting on a corner to cross a street, but during the winter months, this is not necessarily true. Vehicles can get out of control more easily on slick roads, sliding into intersections, across crosswalks, and onto sidewalks. Stay very aware of the movements of traffic, and when crossing the street, observe the traffic before you take the risk of stepping out. Don’t step out in front of oncoming cars, assuming they will stop.
  • Explore the Walking Surface Before You Go
winter4If you are unsure if a specific area is icy, explore it with the toe of your boot before stepping onto it. Snow can cover icy patches and stepping onto that type of surface can mean an instant fall, with the danger of a serious injury, including head injuries, back injuries, broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Don’t Carry Too Much
winter5If your arms are loaded with packages, you cannot break your fall. Make several trips rather than trying to carry everything at once and protect yourself.
  • Take Smaller Steps
winter6Walk carefully, using smaller steps. Be careful when getting out of a vehicle, and test the walking surface before you step out.
  • Wear Gloves Rather Than Using Pockets
winter7If your hands are in your pockets, you can lose your ability to break a fall with your arms, and increase the potential for a serious head or brain injury. Wear warm gloves and keep your hands free, and use any handrails or other supports when available.

Winter Safe Driving Tips

New York drivers face real risks during the fall and winter months. Not only does our state have some of the highest numbers of aggressive drivers, but the rain, ice and snow create conditions for an accident. Even the most law-abiding driver can be caught in an accident when another driver fails to operate a vehicle safely.

Many drivers appear to be willing to take risks, and in doing so, put all others who share the street or highway at extreme risk of an injury accident.

Read these common sense tips that can help you keep your family safe while traveling during the winter months.

  • Keep Your Vehicle in Top Condition.
Winter safe driving tip - keep your car maintainedGet your car or other vehicle serviced before the winter sets in. Have all safety systems checked, including brakes, tires, fluids, wipers, and antifreeze. The last thing you need is to be caught off-guard and have your vehicle break down. Your vehicle’s safety systems are extremely important during winter months, and your tires must be in top condition. Even the best tires can lose their grip on slick roads. Don’t take chances – get your car a full service early in the season.
  • Drive slowly on wet, icy or snowy roads.
Winter safe driving tip - go slower on icy roadsMany people assume that an SUV with snow tires is able to travel faster on dangerous wet, icy or snowy roads. In fact, an SUV is far heavier and has a higher center of gravity. When a larger vehicle goes out of control, it will travel a greater distance on ice, and is more likely to rollover. Driving at speeds above 45 mph on roads with standing water could cause your vehicle to hydroplane. On icy roads, it is important that you drive slowly, and increase or decrease speed gradually, rather than using the brakes as you would on dry pavement. It will take longer to stop when driving on snow or ice, so begin the deceleration process much sooner than you would normally, and plan on 8 to 10 seconds rather than the 4 seconds in would take on a dry road surface.
  • Keep your gas tank full.
winter10You don’t want to run out of gas if stuck in the snow – staying in your vehicle and keeping warm is important in these situations. If you are travelling, fill your tank when it is half-empty rather than waiting until the tank is depleted. If you are stuck in the snow or ice and need to keep your vehicle running, make absolutely sure that the exhaust pipe is not plugged with snow to avoid carbon monoxide entering your vehicle. Turn on your car to get warm, and run the heater for 10 – 15 minutes, and then turn it off to conserve gas.
  • Keep a safety kit in your vehicle.
winter11Keep safety items in your vehicle, including flashlight, gloves, hats, emergency blanket, food, water and other items that could get you and your loved ones through several hours should an unexpected accident occur.
  • Watch out for other drivers.
winter12You may be a seasoned driver, familiar with snowy and icy conditions – but many other drivers are inexperienced. This lack of experience can lead to a serious injury accident. Maintain a greater distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead in wintry driving conditions. If you are being followed too closely, pull over as soon as it is safe and let the other driver pass you. Unfortunately, a single driver can lead to a multi-car accident, with many injuries or fatalities. Be proactive and report dangerous driving and save lives.

Common Accidents in Winter Weather Conditions

The likelihood of a serious collision is far higher during the winter months. Accidents at intersections are more likely, as well as collisions from vehicles that are sliding out of control on streets and highways. The impacts can be head on, side impact or rear end accidents, all of which are extremely dangerous for drivers and passengers.

Out-of-control commercial trucks pose a much higher risk to drivers in New York during the winter months, with a higher number of jackknife accidents, as well as other types of weather related collisions.

The Federal Highway Administration reports that 23% of all crashes are weather-related. You and your family are at much higher risk of an injury or fatal accident during the winter months.


What if YourInvolved in a Winter Car Accident or Break Down

If your car breaks down in the middle of the road or you’re involved in a a collision, don’t panic. Stay inside the vehicle for safety and warmth. If possible, call for help, if not wait, help will arrive soon. For more tips on what to do in this situation, check our previous blog post.

Your safety and the safety of your loved ones comes first. If possible, avoid driving in treacherous weather conditions altogether. But be prepared for the unexpected and always have an emergency kit ready in case you experience an accident.

Always remember that if you suffer an accident due to the negligent behavior of another driver, you should not pay for the resulting damages. Contact our firm as soon as possible so we can analyze your case and help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.

The Holidays: Alcohol and Vehicle Accidents

The winter months are also time for celebration, with many parties and family get-togethers that extend from Thanksgiving through to New Years. With icy, snowy or slick roads, the added element of alcohol consumption makes winter driving even more dangerous during the holiday season.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a winter driving accident, connect with Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C.

The firm has recovered over $200 million in damages over just 12 years in practice, and is made up of some of the top litigators in personal injury law in New York. Call now.