As the temperature drops, you may anticipate winter sports, favorite family holidays, and beautiful snowfall. However, the winter season brings with it a higher amount of accidents and injuries related to the colder weather, seasonal precipitation, and specialized activities.
In this blog, we list seven of the most common sources of wintertime injury and discuss how you can avoid these hazards or make your activities safer.
1. Car Accidents
Snow, ice, and decreased visibility can make driving more dangerous during the winter. In fact, accident claims increase approximately 12% in January and February each year. Car accidents can cause a range of injuries, from mild whiplash to serious lacerations and internal wounds.
To make your trips safer, give yourself more driving time and drive more cautiously, especially during inclement weather. Also be attentive to car maintenance to ensure your engine and brakes work properly.
2. Falling Objects
Whether the item is a chunk of ice from your roof or a box of holiday decorations, falling objects can cause serious head, neck, and shoulder injuries. Heavier objects may even cause concussions or traumatic brain injuries.
When outside, be aware of your surroundings and avoid potential falling objects such as icicles and broken tree branches. When moving boxes, never lift above your head. Instead, use a stepstool to get on the same level as the object.
Some attempts to ward off the winter cold can lead to fires. Even a small fire can cause smoke inhalation and burns.
Exercise common sense when heating your home. Do not leave fires unattended or place heaters near flammable objects. If you need a space heater, invest in a model with an automatic shutoff to decrease the risk of fire if the heater tips over.
4. Poor Ventilation
Whether or not poor heating attempts result in a fire, they can cause carbon monoxide exposure. Carbon monoxide poisoning results in dizziness, headache, confusion, unconsciousness, or even death.
Before the winter season, check that your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. If you smell fuel or feel a sudden onset of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, open windows for ventilation and seek professional help.
5. Slips and Falls
Ice, slush, and wet flooring can cause slips and falls both indoors and outdoors. Minor incidents result in bumps and bruises, but serious accidents can cause bone fractures, head injuries, or spinal injuries.
When outdoors, wear footwear with good traction and pay attention to where you walk. Indoors, avoid any puddles that could make the floor slick.
6. Snow Removal Issues
Many homeowners shovel snow themselves to maintain their property and get exercise. However, inappropriate tools or poor form can lead to muscle strain and sprains when shoveling.
Give yourself plenty of time to remove snow. Work at a sustainable pace with breaks as needed. Wear nonslip footwear, use a shovel intended for snow, and avoid twisting to move a shovel load.
7. Winter Sports Accidents
Winter ushers in the season for several sports, from skiing to sledding. However, winter sports can contribute to broken bones, muscle strain, and other injuries.
Always wear protective gear when participating in a sport. Pay attention to your body and avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits to avoid overexertion. When playing an organized sport, use appropriate equipment and an approved field.
As you enjoy the wonders winter has to offer, be conscientious about these risks. In most cases, awareness and preparation greatly reduce the chances of serious injury.
If you sustain one of the injuries listed above due to the negligent actions of another, you may have a personal injury claim. Work with the experienced team at Otorowski, Johnston, Morrow and Golden, PLLC to determine the best way to get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.