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Take care to avoid slip and fall injuries this winter

If you live in New York City, chances are you spend some of your time as a pedestrian walking along the sidewalks or if it is too crowded you may even find yourself occasionally in the street. The state and boroughs within the City have implemented safety programs to help reduce pedestrian injuries and fatal accidents. However, even with existing programs, the potential of slipping and falling in the winter remains high.

New York's winter dangers

There are many reasons why New York City is a dangerous place to walk in the winter. Some of these include:

  • Icy patches, especially black ice that can be difficult to see
  • Uneven sidewalks, due to cracks or uneven snow removal
  • Being in a hurry
  • Carrying too many, or heavy, items
  • Impatience navigating around crowds
  • Distractions, such as cell phone use

As a pedestrian in the City, it is important to take extra care against all of these obstacles in order to keep yourself safe as well as those around you.

Walking safety tips

In any area where there is winter weather, it becomes especially important to be careful while walking, but in New York City, it becomes extra important because of the increased foot traffic on the sidewalks versus many other cities. If you fall, there is a larger chance that others around you might fall too. Here are some ways you can help keep yourself upright.

Take your time

While "going slow" might seem like something that goes against the very character of the City, it is important to make an effort to do so as a pedestrian. When you are walking too fast and come across a slippery spot on the pavement, you'll have less time to correct your balance to prevent a fall. Those who lean forward slightly with bent knees and take small steps are less likely to slip and fall on the ice than those who are rushed.

Wear good shoes or boots

Heels and dress shoes may look great in the office, but they are not made for slippery streets and sidewalks. While your "sensible shoes" with good traction might not be the most fashionable, neither are bandages and casts that you may need if you fall. You can always change to a more stylish option when you arrive at your destination.

Stay focused

In New York City, where foot traffic abounds, walking is more like driving than it is in other locations. This means you need to watch where you are walking and pay attention to others around you. Your cell phone should stay put away while you are walking until you arrive at your destination. If you are absolutely compelled to answer a call or text, go to an area without foot traffic, take care of your communication needs and then resume your walk. This will prevent you from being bumped into, or bumping into someone else. Also, just like drivers, you need to do your part by watching for traffic and crossing the street in crosswalks.

If you do fall

Even those who try hard to avoid a fall may wind up going down from time to time and being injured. If this happens to you, make sure you report the incident to the business or homeowner where you fell and receive medical attention as soon as possible to get an accurate assessment of your injuries. If you injuries are serious and result in medical bills, having to take time off work or a sustained disability, you may want to consider speaking to an attorney about your legal rights. 

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The O'Connor Law Firm
45 Broadway, Suite 3020
New York, NY 10006

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