Beware Slippery Sidewalks

Slips and falls due to slippery sidewalks and other similar surfaces are a concern, whether an individual does or does not have a brain injury. However, the risks are often more frequent and more serious after an injury.

Many brain injury survivors are able to walk after their injury but find that their balance is not as good as it was prior to their injury. Since these survivors can lose their balance more easily, this puts them at a greater risk for a slip and fall on wet, slippery surfaces. Similarly, many survivors do not have the same quick reaction times as they did prior to their injuries, so they have more difficulty catching their balance if they have a slip. Additionally, many survivor have one side of their bodies that is weaker than the other. When they fall, they tend to fall to the weaker side so there is little opportunity to brace themselves for falls. This potentially makes falls far more serious than prior to their brain injuries.

Survivors in wheelchairs are also at risk for accidents due to slippery sidewalks and other surfaces. The wheels on wheelchairs easily slip on wet surfaces. Wheelchairs pick up speed very quickly on wet sidewalk ramps, leading to potential accidents and injuries, due to an inability of survivors to control their wheelchairs at these higher speeds. Wet leaves and other slippery items on ramps often exacerbate these risks.

Keep the following tips in mind to reduce slip and falls on wet sidewalks and similar surfaces:

  1. Always check the weather before you head out to your daily activities.
  2. Make sure leaves are regularly swept up in locations where they tend to accumulate on sidewalks. Don’t be shy about mentioning to companies you may not be able to enter their businesses if there are wet leaves by entrances and exits.
  3. Be extra careful when walking or traveling in a wheelchair both during and after a rainstorm.
  4. When possible, use sidewalk ramps that are covered by an overhang which can repel the rain.

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