Winter weather conditions result in injuries every year. Snowy roads, icy pavements, sidewalks, and areas around buildings create hazardous conditions for drivers and pedestrians alike.
According to the National Safety Council, winter weather events and conditions are responsible for thousands of injuries each year. Meanwhile, each year more than 116,000 people are injured due to crashes on snowy or icy roads each year, the Federal Highway Administration reports.
By taking some precautions during the winter months, you can avoid or prevent winter and cold weather-related injuries. Here are 5 essential tips for staying safe in the snow and ice, whether you’re driving or walking outside.
- Prepare your vehicle. New Jersey drivers should prepare their vehicles for winter weather. It’s always a good idea to have your brakes and tires checked before venturing out onto winter roadways. Also have a mechanic check your car battery and fluids. Keep an ice scraper, a snow shovel, and some basic emergency supplies in your vehicle, such as water, an extra jacket, and a fleece blanket.
- Be sure to remove any snow and ice from your car before driving. Make sure your windows are defrosted and that your visibility isn’t impaired. Driving with snow and ice on your car or windshield is not only hazardous, in New Jersey, you can be penalized for driving without clearing your car off first.
- Dress for the winter weather. If you’re doing any kind of activity outdoors in winter, from walking out to get the mail or running errands, make sure you’re wearing warm clothing and shoes that have some traction to help prevent falls. If you’re driving during winter, make sure you have an extra jacket and an extra pair of warm or waterproof shoes in case your vehicle breaks down.
- Be aware of your environment. Don’t be distracted while walking in the snow and ice. If you’re walking outside, pay attention to where you’re walking. For example, avoid using your phone while you’re walking to you don’t miss an icy spot. Also be extra careful when walking up or downstairs, or walking into a building, where floors can be slippery.
- Be extra cautious while driving. If there is a winter storm and there are recommendations to stay off the roads, avoid driving in those conditions if possible. Pay attention to lower speed limits during winter weather and if you’re driving in traffic, make sure to leave extra space between cars, as it will take longer to brake in the snow.
Being prepared for winter weather and driving ahead of time is one of the best ways to take precautions. Taking precautions can help you and your loved ones avoid serious injury during the winter months.