6 Common Wintertime Injuries

January 5th, 2023

driver driving during a snowstorm

*Updated for 2024*

As the temperatures drop and it starts to snow again, we must be cautious of the increase in ER visits this weather brings. No matter what you’re doing this time of year, accidents and injuries can happen any time, any place. Although these incidents are not entirely preventable, you should remain aware of their possibility.

Here are six of the most common wintertime injuries and how to avoid them.

Car Accidents from Icy Roads

According to the Federal Highway Administration, just over 21% of all car crashes that occur in the U.S. every year are weather-related. Winter weather can make driving more dangerous and increase your chances of getting into a car accident, especially if driving on snow or ice. When the roads are slick, you can lose control of your car and slide right off the road or into another vehicle, even if you have 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Injuries from these accidents can vary from minor bumps and bruises to major breaks, sprains, and even death. Always watch the weather and stay home when the road conditions are inadequate to avoid sustaining injuries. If you must travel, follow safe winter driving tips and give yourself extra time to get to your location.

Car Accidents from Ice Flying Off Cars

Before you get on the road after a snowstorm, you must clean your car off to get to your destination safely. However, you need to clean more than just your front and rear windshield. According to Christine’s Law, you must clean the entire vehicle, including the roof. If you leave snow on top of your car while driving, it can fly off in heavy chunks, landing on other cars or distracting other drivers and potentially causing accidents. This proactive measure not only ensures your safety but also contributes to the overall safety of the road by preventing potential hazards associated with snow accumulation on vehicles.

Slipping and Falling on Icy Sidewalks

Wherever snow, slush, or ice is present, slipping, falling, and injuring yourself is possible. According to the CDC, slips on ice and snow account for a million injuries and 17,000 American deaths yearly. To lessen your chances of this happening and to stay safe after a winter storm, always walk on shoveled, salted paths and wear snow boots with good traction. Make sure you shovel your entire property and salt any walkways to help keep passersby safe.

Slipping and Falling on Wet Floors

It’s not just icy sidewalks that can lead to slips and falls. You should also be cautious of slipping and falling indoors. As people enter buildings, melted snow and ice can get tracked inside, making the floors wet and slippery. Always wipe your feet off as best as possible before entering a building and walk with shorter strides until you’ve reached a carpeted or dry area.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In winter, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases as people rely more heavily on heating systems to keep warm. This odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas can occur in poorly ventilated places. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the most common source of CO poisoning is unvented space heaters in the home, but another common source is letting a car sit and run to warm up in a closed garage. To prevent this danger, you must ensure proper ventilation in your home and places you heat up your car, perform regular maintenance of heating devices, and install carbon monoxide detectors in your living spaces.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

You never know when an accident will happen and whether or not your car can turn back on after one has occurred. It’s possible you may be sitting or standing in the cold for hours until help arrives, especially if the road conditions are bad. Exposure to frigid temperatures can cause skin and tissue damage, leading to frostbite, and prolonged exposure can lead to hypothermia, which could result in death. Every year, over 1,300 people die of cold exposure. To prevent this from happening, always dress appropriately and have an emergency kit in your car equipped with hand warmers, foot warmers, and blankets.

What to Do if You Are Injured in a Winter Car Accident or Slip and Fall

Having fun and getting out of the house during the winter months is important, but one wrong move can put you in pain for days, weeks, or even months. Simply being aware of potential risks and preparing for accidents significantly reduces your risk of injury.

If you are involved in a car accident, ensure you get to safety first. Remain on the scene, take photos, and make any witnesses aware of the situation. You should also file a report and see a doctor. After a slip and fall, you’ll want to take pictures, notify the property owner, make a report, and seek medical treatment. Whether you’re in a car accident or slip and fall, you’ll also want to contact an attorney who will ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident or suffered from a personal injury during the winter season, contact the expert lawyers at Flager & Associates today by calling (215) 953-5200. We provide free case evaluations.

Adam Flager, Esq.Written by Adam D. Flager, Esq., Associate at Flager & Associates, PC

With his practice focused on litigation, Adam primarily represents clients in personal injury cases, such as motor vehicle, slip and fall, defective products, and construction and worksite accidents. He is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the State of New Jersey, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the District of New Jersey, and the United States Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit. Adam received his J.D. from Widener University School of Law in 2009, where he graduated with pro-Bono Distinction.

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