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Personal Injury

In light of this past weekend’s winter storm, I am reminded of one sure fire winter season kill-joy: accidents causing serious injury. ‘Tis the season for winter weather-related accidents, including slip and falls, motor vehicle crashes, skiing and snowboarding accidents, fires and the like. Here are some tips to help you brave the sometimes unforgiving Utah winter, protect yourself and your family, and still manage to have a little fun!

Motor Vehicle Safety

1. Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. If your brakes have been squeaky lately, get them serviced. If your windshield wiper blades are getting old, replace them. And if you have any doubt about the condition of your tires going into this winter season, replace them. Lack of tire tread can not only increase your braking distance, it can also contribute to hydroplaning and loss of control of your vehicle.

2. Clean all ice and snow from your headlights before driving. Ice and snow can decrease the brightness of your headlights, which could not only prevent you from seeing hazards in the road in time to react, but also prevents other drivers from seeing you. Also, use your headlights at all times during winter storms or other periods of reduced visibility.

3. Decrease your speed and maintain a safe following distance from the the vehicle in front of you. It is generally recommended to leave three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.

4. Remember, bridges and overpasses freeze first. Even if the other streets are clear of ice, be careful of black ice that can accumulate at slightly higher temperatures on bridges and overpasses.

5. Do not pass snow plows and sanding/salting trucks, due to the drivers’ limited visibility. Treat them with even more caution than you would semis or other large motor vehicles.

6. Do not use alcohol or drugs prior to driving in inclement weather.

Winter Sports/Activities

1. Do NOT use alcohol or drugs prior to engaging in any winter activity.

2. If you are ice skating, do not skate alone and only skate on approved surfaces. Do NOT ice skate on surfaces (such as lakes, ponds, etc) that have not been approved for that use.

3. If you are sledding, keep sleds away from motor vehicles, and do not sled on inclines that are adjacent to roadways or water sources (lakes, ponds, etc). Do not permit your child to sled without adult supervision.

4. Skiers and snowboarders should wear helmets. Snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards. Eye protection should also be worn.

Fire Safety/Prevention

1. Make sure your smoke detectors are in good working order, and that they are installed on every floor of your home.

2. Test smoke alarms monthly.

3. Have a fire safety/evacuation plan.

4. Exercise caution when lighting Christmas trees and hanging exterior lights on your home.

Preventing Slips and Falls

1. Wear weather-appropriate footwear with good tread.

2. Thoroughly de-ice and shovel walkways, sidewalks, driveways and entryway stairs.

3. Make sure all walkways and entryways are well-lit.

4. Check exterior water sources (pumps, spigots, hoses) for leaks and fix them immediately.

From the Schmidt Law Firm family to yours, enjoy a safe and happy winter season!

Schmidt Law Firm Law Firm

136 East South Temple Street #1500

Salt Lake City, UT 84111

(801) 895-3113

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