Winter Season Safety Tips

The rainy weather in the Pacific Northwest can lead to significant safety issues. Slips, trips, falls, car accidents, collisions with pedestrians, and other injuries can harm many Portland and Vancouver, WA residents. Wet roads, slippery sidewalks, and mud tracked inside local stores can increase the rate of personal injury during this season. Follow these tips to stay safe and free from injuries during this time of year.

Person Walking on Icy Surface

Take Caution During Low Visibility

Rain and fog can significantly obscure a driver’s vision. In addition, falling leaves and other debris can block windshields or cause unfortunate distractions. The days start to become shorter as well, which means low pedestrian visibility earlier in the day. Whenever the weather causes these poor driving conditions, make sure to take extra precautions to stay alert and avoid collisions with other people on the road.

If you are a pedestrian or a cyclist, take additional precautions when out during days with low visibility. Make sure to look both ways before crossing the street and stay alert to drivers on the road. Opt for bright, eye-catching colors. If you are a cyclist, make sure to have reflectors and bike lights to alert drivers to your presence.

Be Careful With Fallen Leaves

While falling leaves are a beautiful sight in the Pacific Northwest, they can pose serious safety hazards to drivers and pedestrians alike. If you are walking along a sidewalk and come across a pile of fallen leaves, take caution when walking over them. If possible, find an alternate path and walk around the leaves.

Wet leaves can be a serious slip hazard. In colder weather, snow and ice can mix with the leaves and make them more dangerous. If you are a homeowner and notice fallen leaves in your driveway or walkway, make sure to clean them up regularly to keep passerby safe.

Watch Your Outdoor Equipment

If you need to perform any maintenance on your property with equipment you keep outdoors, take extra care when using it. Frost can build up overnight and make surfaces on ladders dangerous to use, leading to falls from high areas. In addition, your shoes can track water and mud onto equipment such as ladders and increase your chance of a fall. Make sure that your equipment is safe to use, dry, and in good condition before beginning your work.

Watch for Ice on the Roads

As the temperatures drop lower overnight, frost and ice can build up on roads and windshields. Before driving, make sure to scrape frost off your vehicle to ensure maximum visibility. In addition, be extra careful on the roads – shady spots could mean black ice, which can cause accidents and collisions when you drive over those patches.

Be Careful in Grocery Stores

When it is raining, people will track in water, mud, and other slippery substances into the stores they visit. Grocery stores, post offices, and other establishments with a laminate floor can become incredibly slippery during this season. Make sure to wipe your shoes before entering a business and take caution around areas that look like slip hazards. Take note if the store does not put up Caution signs for wet floors.

What to Do After an Accident

Car accidents, slips and falls, and pedestrian collisions can occur during the winter. If you experience an accident due to rainy winter weather in the Pacific Northwest, take the following steps to report the incident:

  • Contact authorities immediately after the accident to make a police report, especially if you are involved in a traffic accident.
  • Seek medical attention for your injuries and obtain a medical report for your records.
  • If you are walking in a public area and experience a fall, contact the property owner immediately to let them know what happened.

If someone else’s negligence caused your accident, you could file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries.