Winter can be a fun time for families and people of all ages here in North Carolina, but it is not without risk, especially considering snow and ice. Though many people avoid driving in icy conditions, some may assume that they are perfectly safe to walk on a frozen sidewalk. If a business or building doesn’t properly remove ice from its walkways, someone could slip and fall and be seriously injured. Fortunately, there are ways for individuals to protect themselves when the temperatures drop and sidewalks get treacherous.

Obviously, the simplest thing a person can do is avoid walking on any ice. However, there are times when people must, and experts recommend “walking like a penguin”, using shorter steps and keeping weight directly over one’s feet. Although, this technique is really only useful if the person knows ice is present.

People can also take care to wear rubber-soled shoes designed specifically for slippery surfaces. It is also helpful for them to wipe their feet upon entering a building and to avoid using a cell phone or any device that may split their focus. If they are moving from one type of surface to another, such as a snowy sidewalk to a polished business floor, they need to move slowly and pay attention.

In the event of a forward fall, the person can minimize injury by twisting and rolling onto a shoulder. For a backwards fall, the person should try to fall as though sitting down, curving the spine to stop the head from hitting the ground. If he or she is holding anything, the instinct may be to hold onto it, but unless it’s a person or animal, it may be best to drop the item.

 

Even with all of these helpful suggestions, businesses in North Carolina should still take care to ensure that their sidewalks are free of ice and other hazards. A person who experiences a slip and fall on private property has available legal options to hold responsible parties accountable. An attorney can help an injured person understand exactly what those options may be.