The winter weather finally arrived just after Christmas and with it, a winter storm watch across Eastern Ontario. The storm originated from Texas and dropped quite a lot of snow in the Ottawa area.
All Canadians have experienced hazardous conditions during the heavy snowfalls and quick freeze temperatures that occur during a typical Canadian winter. It is a good time to be reminded of the kinds of safety precautions you should consider to prepare for the winter season and particularly for icy roads and walking surfaces.
Car accidents and slip and falls are quite common during the winter and often result in more serious injury. Law enforcement, insurance companies and other organizations do their part to inform us of the increased risk and hazards during this time and we are well advised to heed their warnings. By always adjusting our driving speed for road conditions, installing winter tires and keeping our attention on the road at all times, accidents may be avoided.
In the event that you are injured in an accident in the Ottawa area, the police advise that you call 9-1-1. However, for accidents that result in no injuries, call 613-230-6211 to report the crash, when you will then have the choice of being referred to three different locations: Kanata, downtown or Orleans.
Car accidents are not the only potential hazards during the winter. Winter conditions can result in increased health risks such as asthma attacks, brought on by cold weather, frostbite, and myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) caused by over exertion. Two Ottawa men recently collapsed in separate incidents at their respective homes on the same day in December. Both men were in the process of shovelling snow when they suffered heart attacks, presumably from over-exertion.
There are proactive steps we can all take to reduce the risk of injury from snow shovelling.
Warm up your bodies and muscles by stretching first.
Pace yourself and begin by shoveling slowly.
Push, rather than lift the snow, and use your legs instead of your back.
When a substantial amount of shovelling is required, take a break, hydrate and always stop before exhaustion sets in.
It is unwise to shovel snow if you have a history of heart disease.
Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time, but winter conditions create special circumstances that increase the risk of accidents and injury. During every winter in Ontario, multiple vehicle collisions associated with poor visibility, blowing snow or slippery road conditions occur, and these accidents can be difficult to avoid for drivers who find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes it only takes one careless or unprepared driver to instigate a multi-vehicle collision that results in vast damage to other vehicles and passengers. One such accident occurred on the 401, last January. It involved thirty to thirty to vehicles and 7 tractor trailers and resulted in serious injuries for 6 vehicle occupants.
Accidents that result from another person’s negligent action seem particularly senseless for the family and friends of the injured person. Recently, on December 31st 2015, a young mother of three from Smith Falls was tragically killed in a car accident at the intersection of Highway 15 and 17 in Ottawa. In this instance, the accident was not associated with poor winter driving conditions, but rather, resulted when a truck driver ran a red light and crashed into the woman’s car. The loss to the family is, no doubt, profound.
The Burn Tucker Lachaîne personal injury law firm is honoured to have helped and represented many accident victims and their families across Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. For severely injured persons and families who have experienced a devastating loss, the road to recovery is very difficult. Our role has been and continues to be to offer our full support as legal advisors and strong advocates for your legal rights. As we usher in the new year, the lawyers and supporting staff at Burn Tucker Lachaîne would like to wish all our clients, their families and friends a safe 2016.
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