Sipping a hot cup of coffee while gazing through the window and experiencing the first day of snow is such a pleasant and most awaited moment of the year. For every westerner who experiences this awesome view, snow is just weather. But for non-westerners, It is bliss. We have tips to help you minimize the risk of slip and fall accidents on ice and snow!
But do you know the repercussion of being a westerner during the snow? It is dangerous to some while, costly for a few and enjoyable for the rest.
Ask me why?
Because of the unintended slips and falls!
Are slips and fall accidents that dangerous?
Yes, it is. According to the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, unintentional slip and fall ice and snow is the leading cause of nonfatal injury across all age groups except 10-24 years.
During winters, as the temperature outside drops, our body and mind automatically instruct us to work out more. Hence, we walk and run fast only to keep the body temperature going. And this unintentional movement brings an unintentional fall.
Not all falls are serious. But one in every five falls will result in a serious injury such as broken bone or head injury. In fact, most of the brain injuries are believed to be caused by slips, falls, and trips.
The impactful statistics of injuries caused by slips and falls
- Every year, almost 900 people are killed and 76,000 injured in car wrecks during snowfall or sleet.
- 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes take place because of snowy, slushy and icy roads.
- 1 million Americans are injured due to slip and fall on ice and snow majorly during the winter months.
- Slips and falls are not the fatal causes however, it represents the primary cause of lost days from work.
- In 2014, 42,480 workplace injuries from slips and falls were recorded for one day off at work.
- Approximately, 1301 Americans die because of Hypothermia due to slip and fall accidents annually.
- Every year, around 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
- More than 95 percent of hip fractures are caused due to unintentional slip and fall accidents.
- In 2015, the total medical cost for falls was more than $50 billion.
- From 2007 to 2016, death rates due to unintentional falls and slip accidents increased by 30 percent in the US.
The aftermaths of an unintentional fall and slip
Falls and slips because of snow look quite non-dangerous but, it does have some major effects. As per the statistics above, falls and slips are highly dangerous. If you are lucky, you simply get rid of the scenario easily but, if it is a major one, it leads to mental trauma.
- A few falls can result in breaking of bones in the writs, arm, ankle, and hip.
- Some falls can result in severe head injuries.
- Falls lead to mental trauma and the fear of falling again thus, making us weak mentally.
Probably every fall is not because of snow but, there are conditions which aid in an easy snow slip
And these conditions are mainly due to health conditions like:
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Difficulty in balance
- Use of medicines like tranquilizers, sedatives or antidepressants
- Vision problem
- Foot pain
Slip and fall accidents are not a matter to ignore – Concentrate on techniques to prevent falls
When the winter air is crisp and the ground is covered with snow, it’s good to take a walk and enjoy the enchanting scenery of the season — and walking is one of the best ways to stay in shape.
On the other hand, winter can make travel difficult. Freezing rain, icy surfaces, and piles of hardened snow pose a danger to the unsuspecting pedestrian.
A few simple steps can make walking outdoors during the winter safer. Removing snow and ice, spreading sand or salt where people walk, and wearing proper boots can make all the difference reducing slip and fall accidents.
A single bad fall on the ice can have long-term consequences such as chronic pain in the affected area; a disabling injury that can lead to loss of independence, or fear of another fall, which prevents the person from leading a healthy and active life.
Basic Precautions To Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents On Ice and Snow
1. Choose a good pair of winter boots. For warmth and stability, look for the following criteria:
Insulated and waterproof;
Thick, non-slip soles;
Heels low and wide;
2. The cleat soles on your boots can make walking on frozen snow and icy surfaces easier. But be careful! The cleat soles become dangerously slippery and must be removed before walking on smooth surfaces such as ceramics, marble or tiles. Before you buy removable cleat soles, make sure you can attach them to your boots and remove them easily; it is important to sit down to put and remove the soles.
3. Use a cane to help you keep your balance. Have it adjust to your size. By knocking it over and holding it close to your body, its end should be at the height of your wrist. Ask your doctor, pharmacist or local public health department how to use it properly.
4. Attach an ice pick to the end of your cane. The peak is slippery on hard surfaces, so be sure to remove it before going inside. Ice picks are available at most pharmacies.
5. If you need better support, use a walker. Their cost may be covered by some government programs; Talk to your doctor.
6. Wear a hip protector (a light belt or underwear with hip pads). These can help prevent hip fractures and give you more confidence.
7. Make sure you are clearly visible to other road users by wearing bright colors or reflecting clothing.
8. Prevent heat loss by wearing a cap, scarf, and mittens or warm gloves. Wear several layers of clothing to keep you even warmer.
Make sure the surfaces where you walk are safe:
1. Remove snow and ice from driveways, outdoor stairs, and sidewalks. Report hazards on roads or sidewalks to your landlord or municipality.
2. Contact your local home support organization or other community services for assistance with snow clearing, transportation, and bus grocery delivery.
3. Bring a small bag of gravel, sand or non-slumping cat litter with you so you can spread it on sidewalks, stairs or slippery bus stops, etc.
4. Ask a passer-by to help you cross the icy surface.
Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents While Walking on The Ice
Being in front of an icy surface can have a chilling effect. Not everyone wears spikes or other safety devices. So what if you can’t avoid an ice sheet? Believe it or not, body movements can increase your stability on an icy surface.
1. First, slow down and think about your next move. Keeping your body as relaxed as possible, place your feet more than a foot apart to have a good support base. This will help you stabilize while you walk.
2. Then relax your knees and don’t let them get stuck. If you can bend them slightly. This will help keep your center of gravity closer to the ground, which will stabilize your body more.
3. Now you’re ready to take a step. Take a small step by placing your entire foot flat on the floor. Then move your weight very slowly on this foot and bring the other foot back to the first by also laying it flat on the ground. Maintain a broad base of support.
4. Some people prefer to drag their feet or take chased steps. If it suits you better, do it. Just remember to place your entire foot on the ice at the same time and maintain a support base about a foot wide.
Every year, with more than a million people getting affected by snow slips and falls, the techniques to prevent slip and fall accidents are very important.
- Anticipate slippery surfaces. Notice the black ice which forms at night and avoid it.
- Do not add any distractions like music, calls while walking.
- Beware of wet floors while entering houses and workplaces.
- Be aware of the snow or ice formation nearby.
- Wear appropriate gear and footwear to prevent maximum fall.
- Exercise and keep your body in a good state. Check with your doctor, if necessary.
Prevention is never expensive
Apart from the above points which you can implement to keep yourself aware of the situations around and avoid falls, there exists a very simple accessory under $20 which can save you from all the hefty amount you pay for the hospital.
And the product is a snow cleat by QuadTrek. They have two different products available which are All-Terrain traction cleats and Quikspikes. Both snow cleats are unisex in design and provide a solid grip for any type of shoes.
Quadtrek Traction Cleats to avoid slip and fall accidents
Our traction cleats are fitted with Velcro straps and can be easily put on and taken off. It stabilizes while you are walking, jogging or running and is suitable on any surface.
The Quadcleats are lightweight thus, giving you the flexibility to carry them wherever required. The snow cleats are made of rubber and provide you the flexibility to easily clean them.
And all this you get under $20.
Watch the video below to understand how you can easily save money using a simple piece of accessory.
If this little piece of information helped you, amazed you and gave you good information, then just comment below.
I hope you have a non-slip year ahead!