Busy people + cold temps + ice = a recipe for traumatic brain injuries

Winter is in full swing in Washington. The state's lush green forests and bustling commuter areas are alight with the twinkle of ice and snow. Ice is lovely to look at, but a nightmare to walk on; that is why in some areas the numbers of traumatic brain injuries spike in the winter months. There are ways to lessen your chances of being hurt, though, if you know what steps to take to protect yourself.

Raising awareness of injury triggers

So, how do wintertime traumatic brain injuries occur?

One obvious source of potential injuries is on ice-coated bridges, overpasses and highways. As precipitation falls (either in the form of snow or rain), it lands on cold surfaces and freezes, forming a nearly invisible, slippery coating. Icy roads are uniquely hazardous because so-called "black ice" that forms when road ice is warmed by the heat of vehicle traffic and then cools again is nearly invisible at highway speeds. A car traveling down the road can hit a patch of ice and go into an uncontrolled skid, causing a multi-car, injury-causing accident. Ice forms faster on bridges and overpasses, so they are often the site of more serious accidents.

Winter brain injuries also affect those outdoors enjoying recreational activities like skiing and snowmobiling. Busy ski runs and snowmobile trails put people at risk for collisions with other people, other vehicles and stationary objects like trees, rocks and buildings. Snowmobile accidents in particular can result in serious injury because they can reach speeds similar to that of a car, but offer none of the protection that an enclosed vehicle does.

Foot traffic is another source of wintertime traumatic brain injuries; ice on sidewalks, parking lots and walkways can cause falls. Even though a "simple" fall doesn't seem to be a likely source of a serious injury, if a pedestrian's head strikes the ground or bumps a stationary object on the way down, the effects can be devastating. Injuries don't just occur at high speeds or when there has been a crushing blow: our brains are very delicate structures that can endure a great deal of damage from a relatively "mild" jarring.

Staying safe

Is there a way to prevent all traumatic brain injuries? Sadly, the answer is no. But, there are ways to proactively lessen the chances that an injury will occur. For example, wearing proper protective gear like a well-fitting helmet can greatly decrease the likelihood that an impact will result in injury. Also, slowing down to account for weather and road conditions can help prevent car accidents.

No matter how your injury happened, if you have suffered a traumatic brain injury because of the negligent or reckless behavior of a person or business, you might be entitled to compensation. To learn more about your legal rights and options you may have to seek recovery, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.