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Slip & Falls Continue: Don’t pack up those winter boots or winter tires quite yet!

The feature article in this Saturday’s Globe & Mail was titled “The End of Winter: What We Lose When We Lose Winter“. To lose the season to climate change seems cataclysmic. I would agree.

The article dealt with skiing in Rockies in Western Canada. There are challenges skiing when the weather is too warm and there isn’t enough snow to get in proper ski runs.

Last week in Toronto, we hit temperature highs of around 16 degrees. This week, we have seen lows of around -6 degrees. That’s quite the temperature swing.

When the weather gets hot, we change our clothes and footwear accordingly. The same applies to when things get cold. But we we see wild weather swings which go from spring/summer weather back to winter weather, it can be a bit dangerous because many people have problems adjusting.

I can’t say I blame them. How does one go to a summer mindset, back to a winter weather mindset in 24hrs? Just yesterday, kids were outside riding their bikes (some in shorts) and playing on muddy fields in shoes (or sandals). Yet today, we’re all back to wearing parkas, mittens and snow boots?

To suggest these changes in temperature don’t effect our behaviour or patterns is out of touch. What our personal injury lawyers see is that these spikes and drops in temperatures cause an increase in claims. This means that more people are getting hurt, in part, because we are going from a summer mindset, and expected to get back to a winter mindset.

Do you drive differently when the roads are clear than you do when then roads are snow and ice covered?

Do you wear different footwear in the winter months, than you would in the spring/summer months?

Are you outside more when the weather is nice and pleasant, as oppose to when it’s cold and windy?

Are children more likely to walk or ride their bikes to school when it’s nice outside, as oppose to when it’s freezing?

What happens when the temperature fluctuates in a 24 hour period, such that it feels like spring and then reverts back to a cold weather winter climate? How would you dress, or would your dress differently than you normally would? How would this change your commuting pattern?

For many Canadians, changes in weather have a large impact on how they get around. Are you walking to work in a giant snow fall, taking transit, riding a bike or driving? Is your boss letting you out of work a bit earlier knowing that a big storm is on its way? Perhaps your employer is more likely to let you work from home knowing that some in climate weather is on its way.

All of these little things, play a big role in the amount of injury claims we tend to see. The more people on the roads, the greater the likelihood of an accident. The worse the weather, the greater the likelihood of an accident. When a snap warm period hits, we see more people gathering outside and shaking off their winter rust than we normally would. We also see more people walking or biking to work/school. We also see more kids at play outside. All of these things contribute to greater density on our roads and sidewalks. Not that it’s a bad thing. We are not suggesting that people bunker up in their homes just because it’s nice outside. We are suggesting that when it gets nice outside (very suddenly) we see behaviours which we otherwise would not normally see. It’s just the reality of what we see at our law firm. 

One of those behaviours which we would not otherwise normally see is fast ditching of snow boots or winter shoes, in favour of running shoes and sandals before the winter season has ended. The same thinkin applies to cars. Once a short wave of summer like conditions hit, off go the winter tires which get replaced very quickly for all season tires. One would not criticize such a move knowing that last week temperatures in Toronto hit a high of around 16 degrees. Yet, this week, those temperatures dropped to -8 degrees with snowfalls. And herein lies the problem. Winter comes back with a vengeance, and we are not mentally prepared and all of our winter gear which keeps us safer (boots, winter tires) are stored for the season not to be seen again until next year.Brian-Goldfinger-03-200x300

We always recommend that it’s best to be late (or slow), in changing over from winter gear to warmer weather gear. Winter has a tendency of coming back and when it does, it does not ask for permission. In fact, just last night we had a snow storm, followed by some icy conditions which left the roads, sidewalks and walkways rather icy. Lucky for us, we had salt in hand to de-ice to make our exterior steps safe for our guests. Lucky for us, we did not pack it up for the winter so to say. We knew that while the season may have felt like it was “over“, it can’t really be over in March in Ontario.

To add to this point, driving yesterday, during a flash snow storm was not very pleasant, or safe. The highways were in far from ideal conditions. Motorists expected summer like driving conditions because of some sunshine. But what they got were winter and slick conditions, with difficult visibility on account of the snow and the setting sun.

So, this is a pro safety tip from a personal injury lawyer. Enjoy the flashes of heat when we have it in the winter time. But don’t act a fool and ruin it for yourself, and for others around you. And finally, it’s ok to be the last one to the party to change those winter tires over, or to unpack those sandals or crocs as the spring rolls in. You never know when winter might come back again to bite you. For more information dealing with winter weather, or snap winter accidents, please reach out to Goldfinger Injury Lawyers for your free no hassle consultation.




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