Snow Safety for Floridians

Why is a law firm in Clearwater, Florida talking about snow safety? It’s a fair question. Snow in Florida is incredibly rare, with measurable snowfall occurring just a few times every century. It is typically limited to the far northern parts of the state, like Jacksonville and Pensacola. And while there have been instances of ice and flurries in recent memory, the last time it truly snowed in Tampa Bay was 1977, when about 1 inch of snow coated the ground for a few hours. In a state with nearly year-round sun, snow is definitely not something we have to worry about.

But that is exactly why Floridians should familiarize themselves with snow safety! During winter, many Floridians travel north to visit relatives and attend holiday gatherings. If they encounter snow during their travels, particularly snowy conditions on the roads, Floridians will likely have no idea what to do. When a Floridian encounters snow, their surprise and inexperience could lead to a traffic accident, a painful slip on ice, or even a cold-related illness, like hypothermia.

If you’re a Floridian who’s clueless about snow safety, read up before your big trip north this winter!

Snowy Roads

In Florida, we’re certainly used to driving in the rain, and snow driving requires some of that same experience. Like rain, snow decreases visibility, making it incredibly important to stay alert at all times. This means avoiding drowsy and distracted driving, and never driving after drinking alcohol. Of course, you should practice this kind of safe driving behavior in any weather!

Decreasing speed also leads to safer snow driving, as it gives the driver more time to stop. This is very important, because icy roads can make it difficult to come to a quick stop! While on dry pavement, a vehicle might take four seconds to come to a stop, but it can take up to 8 seconds to stop during snowy conditions. Before driving in the snow, drivers should be very familiar with their car, particularly the brakes.

On Thin Ice

Since our bodies of water are often filled with alligators, dangerous undercurrents, and other watery hazards, the idea of a frozen-over lake might seem safe to a Floridian. But ice is not always nice! According to the Center for Disease Control, about 10 people die every year in the United States after falling through the ice, usually from hypothermia or drowning. Floridians should avoid venturing out onto the ice for activities like fishing or skating, because they do not have experience in determining the thickness of the ice.

That said, falling-through-ice accidents are rare, even in very northern states like Minnesota and Wisconsin. A more reasonable concern is slipping on the ice while walking outside. A slip on the ice can be embarrassing, but it can also lead to injuries like bruising, broken bones, or even head injuries. To avoid a slip, wear shoes with good traction, and take small, deliberate steps

Bundle Up

In snowy weather, the typical Floridian uniform of shorts and sandals just isn’t going to cut it!  To avoid cold weather discomfort, dress in lots of layers, and add a hat and mittens to your luggage. Dry off after spending time in the snow or ice, and promptly change out of wet or damp clothing and shoes.

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Are you a Floridian who has spent time up north or a northerner-turned-Floridian? What’s your best piece of advice for someone who with no experience with snow?

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

 

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