Icy Sidewalk Falls: A Guide to Prevention

Winter in New York City is no joke. The chance of slipping on icy surfaces means a greater risk of broken bones, soft tissue injuries, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. As a home or business owner, you can be held responsible for injuries that result from passerby slipping on an icy sidewalk. The city required property owners to keep the sidewalks safe and free from ice and snow.

Property owners or managers may not have received an official notice regarding clearing a sidewalk, and it is assumed that the responsible parties are aware of dangers, and have proactively addressed the problem. Pedestrians should also protect themselves by looking out for their own safety. Everyone can do their part to reduce the number of slip and fall accidents this year by taking a few simple precautions.

Simple Tips to Prevent Icy Sidewalk Injuries

There’s no way to entirely eliminate the risk of a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk. However, with a little foresight, you can reduce the chances of a slip and fall. Consider taking these simple measures that increase safety for yourself and others over the long winter months.

  • Keep the sidewalk in front of your home and business free of ice. Shovel away snow as soon as it falls to prevent accumulation and compression. If there is already ice, use a dissolving agent such as rock salt to melt it and scrape the remaining ice and snow off the sidewalk completely.
  • In addition to salt, apply sand to slippery walking surfaces. Sand adds traction to the surface and makes it easier to walk on.
  • Make sure your sidewalk is well lit. Slippery surfaces and poor lighting are a disaster waiting to happen. Keep any stairs illuminated with durable outdoor lights.
  • Wear shoes with excellent traction. Carry other shoes with you and change when you reach your location, rather than wearing leather-soled or other footwear that make it more possible to slip in icy or snowy conditions.
  • Walk cautiously when using sidewalks. During the winter, assume you are likely to encounter a slippery surface at any time. So, walk a little more slowly than usual and take cautious steps.
  • Don’t place your hands in your pockets. A slip and fall is far more dangerous if you are unable to break your fall.
  • Walk like a penguin. It sounds amusing, but walking with a wide stance, spreading your arms apart and “waddling” slightly widens your center of gravity. It will be harder to get knocked off your feet in slippery conditions.
  • Try to keep your eyes ahead, rather than focused strictly on the ground. Walking while looking at the sidewalk can make it more possible to lose your balance.

Help for New Yorkers Who Fell on Icy Sidewalk

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