Wintertime weather can often present unique hazards for pedestrians. Snow, freezing rain, ice, and fewer daylight hours can put pedestrians at risks for both motor vehicle accidents as well as for slip or trip and fall accidents. If you plan to be out walking during the winter in Pennsylvania, it helps to understand why winter poses risks of accident to pedestrians and what you can do to help keep yourself safe.
How Winter Weather Increases Motor Vehicle Accident Risks for Pedestrians
Pedestrians can be at much higher risk of being involved in a collision with a motor vehicle during the winter months. This is because wintertime can create difficult and hazardous road conditions for vehicles, including black ice that can cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle and hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk or intersection, or even to veer onto the sidewalk and collide with a pedestrian there.
Heavy snowfall during the winter can also create high snow banks that obstructs the view of both pedestrians and motorists. A driver may not see a pedestrian about to cross an intersection or crosswalk, while a pedestrian may not see an oncoming vehicle. As a result, winter increases the possibility of a pedestrian accident that takes place at speeds likely to cause catastrophic or life-threatening injuries.
Winter-Related Slip and Fall Risks for Pedestrians
Winter weather can also create treacherous walking conditions for pedestrians, increasing the risk of a slip and fall or trip and fall accident. Of course, snow and ice from an uncleared and unsalted sidewalk can easily cause any pedestrian to lose their footing. But a hazardous looking sidewalk can also put pedestrians at risk when they choose to walk in the street that has been plowed and salted/sanded, rather than on an unshoveled and untreated sidewalk; this puts pedestrians at risk of getting into an accident with a motor vehicle.
Pedestrian Winter Safety Tips
If you plan to be out walking in winter weather, you should remember the following tips to help reduce your risk of getting into an accident and staying safe despite the hazardous conditions:
- Avoid being distracted by your cell phone, such as due to texting, while walking, so that you can remain alert for any hazards or emergencies
- Try to wear clothes that make you more visible, including bright colors and reflective materials, especially when walking at dusk or dawn or at night
- Wear footwear with good grip and high ankles, so that you can help reduce your risk of slipping or tripping on slick surfaces, and potentially avoid or reduce ankle injuries if you do fall
- Give yourself extra time to get to wherever you are walking, so that you don’t feel the need to walk quickly and potentially cause yourself to have a slip and fall or trip and fall accident; in addition, make sure to take slow, careful steps if you do need to walk over patches of snow or ice
- Try to avoid carrying heavy items when walking, since they can make it difficult for you to maintain your balance on a slippery surface
- Only cross streets at intersections or at marked crosswalks
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of oncoming vehicles; do not assume that a driver has seen you or will stop for you
- If you walk in the street, try to walk in the direction facing oncoming traffic, and stay as close to the curb as possible
Contact an Erie Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Pedestrian Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. represent clients injured because of pedestrian accidents in Millcreek, Harborcreek, Fairview, Meadville, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (814) 833-7100 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2525 W. 26th St., Erie, PA 16506, as well as offices in Meadville and North East.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.