Five Things You Can Do in Fall to Avoid Winter Injuries
By Brian Acton
Fall is a popular season for many reasons: it brings cooler weather, beautiful foliage, and includes some of the best holidays. But winter is around the corner, and with it comes an increased likelihood of injury resulting from cold temperatures and inclement weather. But if you start preparing now, you can reduce the risk of injury once winter arrives.
Here are five things you can do in fall to avoid injuries in winter.
- Prepare for Slippery Walkways
If your home has a driveway, walking paths, a sidewalk, or other areas that tend to get icy, you should stock up on supplies that will keep those areas walkable. At minimum, you should keep a quality snow shovel and a method to treat or cover ice. Salt can aid in melting ice, but isn’t exactly friendly to cars, concrete, or the environment. As an alternative, you can put down kitty litter or gravel - they won’t melt ice, but they will add traction.
- Stock Flashlights
Snow and ice storms can cause power outages. If you’re caught stumbling through your home in the dark, you risk a fall. Make sure you have flashlights with fresh batteries stashed around strategic areas of your home so you can get to them easily in the event of a power outage.
- Prepare Your Vehicle
It’s important to prepare your vehicle for slippery conditions and breakdowns.
To prepare for slippery roads, you may want to consider snow tires or at least ensure that your current tires have a sufficient tread depth
to manage snow and ice. Rear wheel drive vehicles may handle poorly in the snow, but you can use sandbags, cinderblocks or other heavy items to add extra weight to the rear of your vehicle and cut down on sliding.
You should also prepare your vehicle for a roadside breakdown, which can be life threatening in certain conditions. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. This kit should include extra warm clothes, gloves, bottled water, some canned food, a flashlight, and emergency flares. In addition, storing a bag of road salt and a shovel in your trunk can help in a pinch if you ever need to dig yourself out of deep snow.
- Get the Right Clothing
Warm clothing keeps you protected from the elements when you’re outside. Check your existing wardrobe now to make sure you have everything you need. You’ll want a warm clothing option for every part of the body, from head to foot. Choose clothes that fit well and have interior. Make sure you have options for inner layers such as socks and long johns.
Finally, shoes or boots with a good tread can help prevent slips and falls.
- Trim Back Trees
If you have trees on your property, you should trim back branches that extend over your roof, power lines, and any walkways. You don’t want branches felled by ice to cause property damage or injury to anyone walking below.