Staying Safe During Slip Season

The recent Winter storm reminds us that we’re in the height of slip season.  As the weather gets colder, the walking conditions in the neighborhood get worse, especially when we have a Winter storm like we did in mid-January that dumped a mix of sleet, slush and snow on our streets and sidewalks.

Slip & Fall Prevention Tips

Winter slip and falls happen anywhere snow falls, from your front stoop to public spaces such as sidewalks and parking lots.  The calendar reminds us that we remain in Winter.  Wherever you walk after a storm, consider the following tips to avoid falling:

  • Pace yourself.  Winter weather in St. Louis usually means ice.  When moving across pavement, always walk instead of run.  Use handrails, walls, door handles or other secure objects to stabilize yourself.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings.  Many falls occur because of distraction.  Keep your phone in your pocket, look where you are walking and purposefully look for potential hazards, like patches of ice.
  • Keep your hands free.  Our arms stabilize us as we walk.  Having your arms and hands available provides balance while giving you a chance to break or even prevent a fall should you come across slippery conditions.
  • Wear proper shoes.  If you are walking in frozen conditions, wears shoes or boots with soles that provide solid traction.

Many of us clean the sidewalks leading to and in front of our homes and businesses and, in some cases, our driveways and parking lots.  In that case, remember:

  • You must adequately clear the pavement.  There is no responsibility in Missouri forcing an owner to clear sidewalks and driveways of ice and snow.  But, if you attempt to do so, you must carefully act, making sure to do a complete and competent job.
  • You are responsible for those you hire.  You cannot escape liability by pointing at the person you paid to clear the pavement.  Whether that person is the teenager that lives three doors down, a contractor or an employee, you are responsible for the job that person does to remove snow from your pavement.
  • Ensure that gutters and downspouts drain away from walking areas.  If the temperatures reach below freezing, standing water will form dangerous icy patches on sidewalks and parking lots.  Check to see where water drains and collects before the weather gets too cold.

Finally, let’s remember to look out for each other.  Our neighborhood is eclectic.  Check on those neighbors you know struggle to get around even in the best of times.  Do what you can to ensure their safety.  Check in on them, especially during the remainder of Winter when so many of our neighbors remain homebound because of cold temperatures.