Written By: Joseph A. Cescon and Lori Khaouli, Student-at-Law
With shorter days, wetter conditions, and colder temperatures, fall is a dangerous season for personal injury accidents. While many people look forward to this time of year, there are also many added dangers due to the change in season that you need to watch out for to keep yourself safe.
Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental injury in Ontario. The risk of injury due to a slip and fall increases during the fall season due to the presence of hazards that are not typically present during the rest of the year. In the fall, the change in weather leads to icy and wet sidewalks, walkways, and driveways. The water from outdoors can be dragged indoors into stairwells and entryways, leading to more opportunities for slip and falls if not properly maintained. Fall also leads to falling leaves -wet leaves on the sidewalk can be just as dangerous and slippery as walking on ice.
Tips for reducing the risk of slipping and falling during the fall season:
- Walk with caution and at a safe pace
- Wear appropriate footwear with proper traction
- Avoid patches of wet leaves on the sidewalk
- Take an alternative route if a stretch of sidewalk or road appears to be dangerous
The fall season also means back-to-school. Every fall, approximately 800,000 Ontario students begin to take the bus to school every day. In a ten-year school bus collision study conducted by Transport Canada, it was found that on average, 941 injuries occurred each year due to collisions involving school buses. The same study found that collisions involving school buses resulted in an average of 14 deaths per year. While accidents are rare, injuries and fatalities can happen, and most accidents occur outside of the school bus while children are crossing the street or exiting the bus.
As a driver of a motor vehicle, it is your responsibility to know the rules regarding school bus safety. Drivers are required to stop at least 20 meters away from a stopped school bus until the bus has finished loading and unloading its passengers and drivers should not make any attempt to pass a school bus. Drivers of any motor vehicle should remember to proceed with extreme caution when in and around school zones.
Fall weather can surprise us with snow, frost, ice, fog, and rain, which create hazardous driving conditions. While many of us may be unaware, it is well documented that the fall months bring an increase in motor vehicle accidents. Frost and rainfall make the roads slippery, while fog can reduce visibility; conditions which both increase the risk of car accidents occurring. The end of daylight savings time also means that many people will be driving home from work when the sun has already set, further reducing visibility on the road.
Tips for staying safe on the road during the fall season:
- Keep a safe distance between you and other cars when the road is slippery to ensure there is enough space to brake
- Stay alert to wet leaves on the road – the accumulation of wet leaves on the road can cause your car to lose traction and can skid on leaves as easily as ice
- If there are foggy conditions, use low beam headlights
- Ensure that the frost from all of your windows has melted or been wiped off before driving
- Pay attention to the weather forecast and adjust your driving to be safe in the conditions
It is important for both drivers and pedestrians to exercise extreme caution during the fall season as the change in weather conditions brings on new challenges on the road. Many pedestrian-related accidents in the fall also occur due to the reduction in visibility and wet weather patterns. Both pedestrians and drivers of motor vehicles need to be aware of their surroundings while on the road.
Keep these tips in mind when you are out and about this season:
- Be mindful at crosswalks and intersections – pay attention to where you are walking and cars in your vicinity that may be making right or left turns
- Remove all potential distractions – take out your headphones and put away your smartphone to ensure you can hear and see what is going around you
- Be patient – wait for the crosswalk light and look in all directions around you prior to crossing the road
HOW WE CAN HELP
Accidents happen – if you have been injured, an experienced team of personal injury lawyers can help guide you through the next steps. Contact the lawyers at McLeish Orlando Lawyers LLP for a free consultation.
Stay alert and stay safe this fall season!