In many regions of the UK, the winter of 2010-11 produced record snowfalls and all-time low temperatures. And while this may be the ideal scenario for children looking forward to a white Christmas, for the average pedestrian it can mean a major headache. Even a short walk to the local shops can become a dangerous experience, and one which can lead to any number of potential injuries.
Icy pavements are a common cause of hospital admissions in the winter period, with broken limbs perhaps the most prevalent injury of all. Throughout the colder months, wearing sensible footwear is always a good idea. Pavements can become slippery in a short period of time, so even if it’s relatively mild when you set out, it’s advisable to always be prepared for the worst case scenario.
When walking can be dangerous
When the winter comes around, we tend to think of how it will affect motorists and public transport users, but few people are aware that pedestrians are likely to be the ones that suffer the most. Road users can always choose to leave the car at home, of course, but for those who are walking there are times when you simply have to leave the safety and comfort of the home.
In a prolonged cold snap, the situation becomes noticeably worse. During such a spell, fresh falls of snow will land on top of impacted ice, turning pavements and roads into virtual skating rinks. As each layer falls, the dangers increase. And if temperatures stay hovering around zero or below, there is little or no chance of the snow and ice disappearing. And as each day passes, the number of hospital admissions is likely to rise, too.
It can be worse for rural residents
People who live in more rural areas will often have more problems with icy surfaces than those who live in towns and cities. Because of the decrease in numbers of pedestrians who are out and about, the chances of slipping may be higher. Another important factor to consider is that there are fewer pavements in the countryside, of course, so people may have to walk on the roads themselves, adding to the potential for serious incidents.
If you or a family member is involved in an accident due to an icy surface, you could be entitled to make an injury compensation claim. The local authority has a responsibility to ensure pedestrians and other road users are able to travel safely, and when that doesn’t happen legal action could be an option.
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