As our annual winter weather too soon settles in, the portent of icy, snowy, wet and slick walkways and roadways becomes a reality, threatening both pedestrians and motorists.
After all, winter affects to some degree 260 million people in the United States and an incredible 2.5 billion people worldwide, as the risk of slipping on ice and snow makes the season a precarious time for all.
Millions of people slip and fall each year. Kids slip on the playgrounds and the streets and sidewalks near their homes. Moms and dads slip on the icy driveways, parking lots or sidewalks while carrying groceries. Grandma and grandpa slip on wet grass, snow or ice and easily break wrists, arms and hips. It's not unusual for a person to suffer serious head, arm, leg and back injuries by slipping and falling on slippery surfaces.
National Safety Council statistics show that thousands of people die annually due to injuries sustained by falling, with more than 16,000 dying in year 2000 alone. Furthermore, people over the age of 65 are 33 percent more likely to fall in any given year.
Only motor vehicle crashes cause more unintentional injury and accidental deaths than falling.
One in five patients to a hospital emergency room for an injury is there because of falling.
Of those 16,000 deaths due to falls in the United States in year 2000, more than half occurred at home, and less than four percent were due to sports related activities.
In other words, take it easy out there.
Don't go out in slippery conditions unless you absolutely have to. Then, take it slow or have family members or friends accompany you so you all make it safe and sound to and from your destination.
Take measures to clear your steps, sidewalks and driveways of snow and ice. Drive slowly until you're sure of the road conditions. Take a cell phone or let others know your itinerary when you travel anywhere. If you think it's too dangerous out there, it probably is.
Let's all enjoy the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays in one healthy, happy piece.