Winter is a dangerous time of the year. Whether you are in your car or just walking down the street, the winter weather creates hazards out there that we may not even see. As of now, we have not had too much snow here on Long Island, but that doesn’t mean the danger is any less. We have seen a lot of rain and quite a few very cold days, the combination of which is a danger itself.
Ice is hard to see whether it is on a street, in a parking lot or on a road. If you are walking, slipping on the ice can lead to some severe injuries. If you are walking around the neighborhood, the proper footwear can be quite a bit of help. Boots or shoes with better treads can have even a little more protection than casual or dress shoes. If it has been snowing, don’t be a trailblazer, look for the footsteps from the people before you, especially in places like parking lots where the walking paths are not usually as well defined.
The biggest challenge with ice is that it is extremely difficult to see, the term “black ice” refers to a thin layer of ice on a road or paved surface, again, like a parking lot, that is nearly impossible to see. Black ice can cause people to lose their footing causing a potentially dangerous fall, and it can cause cars to lose control.
If the weather is above freezing, it is easier to walk. You may get wet feet, but at least your boots or shoes are contacting the ground. Cars, on the other hand, still have a potentially hazardous situation called “hydroplaning”. This is when a car slides uncontrollably on a wet road. This can happen due to the lower instance of friction between the tires and the road. This is a greater hazard with cars that have older tires with treads that have worn down to unsafe levels, putting the car, the driver, passengers, and anyone close to the car at greater danger.
The time during a storm and for the first day or so after it, risk levels on the roads and streets are much greater. If you know a storm is coming, move up some of your errands so you will not have to head out during the storm. If you are neighbors that have trouble getting around, give them a call to see if they need anything while you are out. Contact family or friends with kids to see if they are all set for the storm. The best advice for a storm is to stay inside. If you absolutely have to go out be prepared with proper clothes, footwear and make sure your car is ready for the weather.