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Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, once again calling for 6 more weeks of snow.

Thanks a lot, Phil!

Since our law firm is committed to keeping West Virginians safe, we’ve gathered a short list of things to help you survive these final few weeks of winter:

Caution – Slippery Roads! Cold weather can cause dangerous conditions for drivers. Whether its snow, freezing rain, or icy roads, keep these tips in mind when you have no choice but to drive this winter:

o Check your tires – Driving with bad tires or inadequate tire pressure on slippery roads can result in sliding or spinning out.

o Make sure that your defrosting system is working properly; that your wipers are not dull; and, that you have a good supply of wiper fluid so you can clearly see through the windshield and mirrors.

o Keep some WD-40, hand sanitizer, or cooking spray at the ready to help free frozen locks or doors. A mixture of 3:1 vinegar/water will also help prevent ice from forming on the outside of your windows.

o Stash some kitty litter in your trunk in case you get stuck in the snow. It provides extra traction/grip for your tires. You can also use your floor mats if necessary!

o The best driving advice in winter weather is to avoid taking unnecessary trips; but, if you must venture out, leave plenty of time to travel and SLOW YOUR ROLL!

Is the outside of your home winter-proof? While we may have only 6 or so weeks left of winter (according to Phil), it’s still important to make sure the exterior of your home is winter-ready. For example:

o Light it up! Having porch lights, floodlights, walkway lights, and motion sensor lights can keep you and your guests safe when walking outside your home. Good outdoor lighting may also deter burglars.

o Clear ice and snow from those front (or back) door mats. They are a great way to knock snow from your boots but if they become frozen or covered with ice, they pose a serious slipping hazard.

o Keep your walkways and driveways clear of ice and snow for you, your guests, and mail/package carriers. A sprinkle of pet-safe snow melt on sidewalks and stairs will help prevent accidental slip and falls.

o Turn off outdoor faucets and remove any hoses to avoid freezing and possible pipe bursts.

Kick Snow to the Curb! Shoveling can be a pain in the neck (or back or shoulders or arms), but it’s something we do to protect ourselves and those around us. Slip and fall injuries can be serious, especially when snow and ice are involved. And, you may be held responsible if a fall happens on your property. Before you head out to that snow-covered sidewalk or driveway, make sure you’re prepared: Stretch and warm up your muscles; lift with your knees and not your back; choose a shovel that’s meant to move snow and make sure not to not overload it (your back will thank you later); stay hydrated; and, take breaks often and before you become fatigued.

Be careful using that Space Heater! Portable space heaters pose a potential risk of fire, shock, and burns. Never leave a space heater on when you leave a room; while you are sleeping; or alone with children or pets. If left unattended, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can form; the heater can be knocked over; or the heater may cause a burn if touched. Check your space heater regularly for any frayed wires, dust accumulation, or broken parts. Avoid using them in rooms where spills or moisture build-ups are likely (bathrooms and kitchens) to prevent shocks. Don’t use them with extension cords (this will help avoid a circuit overload). If you are going to use a portable space heater, choose one that’s been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory to ensure that it meets required safety standards.

Winter weather can cause more than just picturesque snowy backyards, hills for sledding, and opportunities for outdoor winter fun! Sometimes, those icy roads, frozen steps, or devices meant to keep us warm may lead to serious injury or accident. We hope you stay safe this winter but if you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s fault or the fault of a product, appliance or other equipment, call us for a free consultation. We’re warmed up and ready to help you!


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