The East Coast and the Midwest are no strangers to weathering the brutal winter storms that invade their regions every year. Icy conditions are treacherous for drivers, pedestrians and those who step out the front door to retrieve the morning paper.
From an everyday standpoint, icy conditions in neighborhoods occur due to lack of homeowners association maintenance, or neglect of the city or county with untimely snow removal. If you think your homeowners association is not up to par with their responsibilities when the winter snow comes along, you’ll want to address the situation to the person in charge, and do your homework by brushing up on the governing documents and CC&Rs. There you’ll likely find out who is responsible for the upkeep of common and private areas. If your roads or driveways are contracted for clearing in the event of a certain amount of snowfall, and you are injured in the common area, there may be a reason to seek legal assistance for your injury. Or, what if your kind neighbor shovels your driveway for you, but misses a spot of ice and you fall getting into your car?
It pays to be cautious when dealing with ice and snow. Here are a few measures to keep in mind:
- When going outside, no matter the duration, wear shoes with tread on them. Don’t go outside in your bare feet or your slippers. If you fall, you might not have a strong case if you were just being careless.
- If you have four-wheel drive, make sure it’s engaged before you start driving up or down hills, but refrain from being too overconfident in the abilities of the car. A four- wheel drive won’t necessarily protect you if you’re driving too fast.
- Wear gloves and mittens when you go outside. If you do fall, you’ll want something on your hands to give you the grip to get back up.
- If you find yourself stuck in the mud or snow, and your wheels are literally spinning and going nowhere, putting some debris or rocks behind the wheels to provide some traction might help your car start moving again. Before you put the car in “drive” make sure no one is behind or in front of the wheels in the line of fire from flying debris.
Many cars now have added features to prevent accidents from occurring in snowy conditions such as greater sensitivity to alert the driver of hazardous conditions, better tire tread to ensure non-slippage, and sensors that alert the driver when foreign objects make their way in the direction of the car.
Despite these measures, however, if you do find that you’ve had a car accident or fallen in an association-maintained area, you’ll want to seek the advice of a professional for further consultation. Icy conditions will always be prevalent for those of us who live in northern regions. Knowing the rules and being smart will keep you safe even in the worst of storms.