It is predicted that the coming winter could bring more severe weather to Kentucky than in years past. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the winter of 2016-2017 will “be much colder than last winter.” It may bring with it more frigid weather, snowfall and precipitation than last winter. CNN News said that the almanac’s predictions always should be “taken with a grain of salt,” but that other recent winter weather predictions from WKYT CBS News appear to support what the Old Farmer’s Almanac has predicted: a harsh winter.

Indeed, according to meteorologist Chris Bailey, Kentucky’s “temperature will be much colder this winter when compared to last winter.” Bailey went on to describe a bold prediction for winter: “The more I look at how this pattern resembles some of winters past, I can’t escape the sinking feeling that we will have a significant freezing rain/ice event.” In other words, it may be more important than ever to take winter safety tips seriously to prevent dangerously—and potentially life-threatening—slip and fall accidents.

Tips for Preventing Falls This Winter

What can you do to avoid a slip and fall accident on an icy sidewalk or a slick floor surface in Kentucky this winter? Several organizations provide important winter safety measures that can be helpful to Kentucky residents who want to take precautions to avoid slips and falls. For instance, the Lexington Herald Leader identifies some common scenarios in which slip and fall accidents occur and recommends some tips for staying injury free. A safety tip sheet from Appalachian State University, as well as a safety tip sheet from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), make recommendations for preventing slips on icy or snowy surfaces.

We have compiled many of these helpful ideas to provide some important winter safety tips for preventing falls this winter:

1. Be alert for black ice, and take steps to avoid it.

Black ice can be especially difficult to see. As an article in Accuweather.com explains, black ice typically is considered to be one of the most dangerous winter driving conditions. It can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle and put at risk pedestrians crossing a road. What is black ice? It is a layer of ice that “gets its name from its ability to blend in with its surroundings.” Specifically, black ice tends to resemble the pavement on the road, though it is actually clear. It typically forms when the air outside is at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and when rain is falling.

What can you do to avoid slipping and falling on black ice? Make sure that you only use pathways that have been cleared or have been treated with salt or sand. If you are at your own house, be sure to clear your paths with a snow shovel and to treat sidewalks and pathways with salt or sand.

2. Pay attention to the path you are walking on.

Even if you are walking on a path that has been shoveled and has been covered in salt or sand, there may still be uneven patches that could result in a trip and fall accident. It is always important to pay close attention to the path you are walking on. You should take shorter steps than usual and walk at a slower pace, giving you more time to react to avoid slipping if you do encounter a slick surface.

3. Use handrails when they are available.

If you are walking outdoors in Kentucky this winter and need to walk up a set of exterior stairs to enter your workplace or a place of business, it is important to hold on to any handrails that are available to you. If you slip on a slick stairway, holding onto a handrail can prevent a dangerous fall.

4. Be vigilant when you are getting out of your car.

A number of slip and fall accidents happen in the winter when people are getting out of their cars. Uncovered parking lots can become icy and slick. Whenever you pull into an exterior parking lot in the winter, look around your vehicle and be aware of the risks of black ice before you step out of your vehicle. Getting out of your car too quickly can lead to a loss of footing and a fall injury.

5. Wear shoes that have good traction.

Many potential slip-and-fall accidents may be avoided if you are wearing shoes that have good traction. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that anytime you are working outside during the winter, you should be wearing shoes that provide good traction. What kinds of shoes does OSHA recommend? It suggests that workers and pedestrians wear water-resistant boots, or rubber overshoes, that have rubber treads on the bottom. Just as with the tires on your car, having shoes with good traction can prevent skidding.

6. Wipe your feet anytime you head inside from a snowy day.

Slips and falls accidents do not only happen outside. A slip and fall accident can easily take place inside on a slick floor caused by melting snow and ice in an entry hall or doorway. When a person comes inside after being outdoors on a snowy day, slush from shoes or boots can make indoor tile floors extremely slippery. By wiping your feet before you walk indoors and removing your footwear, you can help to keep inside floors dry and prevent an indoor wintertime slip and fall incident.

Contact a Kentucky Slip and Fall Accident Attorney

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a slip and fall accident in Lexington, Louisville, Florence, or anywhere else in the Bluegrass State, an experienced Kentucky slip and fall accident lawyer can help. Contact Becker Law Office to learn more about how we can assist you.