Accident hazards lurk everywhere when winter arrives

This article looks at some winter hazards, including on the road and the risk of slip-and-fall accidents.

From icy roads to slippery sidewalks, winter presents a host of hazards that can lead to accidents and injuries. While Connecticut residents may think they are hardened to the worst the season can throw at them, being complacent about winter's dangers is a recipe for disaster. From car accidents to slip-and-fall injuries, winter requires everybody to take extra care and precaution to make sure they and everybody else are kept safe during inclement weather. Below is a brief overview of what some of the most common dangers are and what people can do to minimize their risk of injury.

Motor vehicle accidents

Icy roads, reduced visibility, and high snow drifts are just a few of the hazards drivers have to contend with during the winter months. There are steps that one can take to make driving safer, however. As the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) notes, making sure one's vehicle is equipped for winter travel is important. The car's engine should be checked, as well as its safety features, including tire tread, headlamps, brakes, windshield washer fluid, and wipers. Investing in winter wiper blades may be a good investment as well. ConnDOT also recommends not letting one's fuel tank get below half full at any point.

Before getting on the road, drivers must also ensure that their headlamps, windshield, and windows are cleared of ice and snow. As the Hartford Courant notes, while driving, motorists should also keep plenty of distance between themselves and other vehicles. Drivers should also avoid frequent stopping, particularly when traveling on hills, and should disengage their cruise control. Extra care should also be taken on bridges and overpasses, which are especially prone to ice buildup. Also, snow banks may limit visibility, especially at intersections. Approach such intersections slowly and cautiously.

Exercising caution is the rule rather than the exception during winter driving. The number one reason for being a safe motorist is to keep oneself and everybody else on the road protected during such difficult driving conditions. Furthermore, for those who do get involved in an accident, their safe driving may reduce their liability in that accident, thus potentially increasing the amount of compensation they may be able to pursue.

Slip-and-fall accidents

Of course, winter is not dangerous for just motorists alone. For those out shopping and walking about, slippery floors and walkways can present a serious hazard. Commercial properties, such as shopping centers and supermarkets, have a duty to ensure that their premises are kept safe for customers to use. If a commercial property owner does not do enough to keep floors clear and dry, such as by mopping up melted snow and ice and putting down floor mats, he or she may be held liable if somebody injures him or herself in a slip-and-fall accident on that property.

Safety should be everybody's priority during the winter months. Whether on the road or while out shopping, everybody should be able to enjoy the season without risking accident or injury. Sadly, winter accidents do happen all too often. Those who have been injured, either in a motor vehicle accident or in a slip-and-fall incident, should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An experienced attorney may be able to help injured victims pursue compensation claims, which may ultimately make their physical and emotional recovery easier and less stressful to deal with.