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Why slips and falls occur and how to avoid them

While fatal car accidents account for the largest percentage of all accidental deaths, trips, slips and falls come in at a not-too-distant second at 15 percent. Among the three, they are not only different in terms of how they occur, but as far as how each can be prevented as well.

As for slips, they most often occur when your feet and the surface you are walking on have either too little friction or traction in between them. For example, if you attempt to walk on a wet floor, icy pavement or directly atop an oil spill, without the benefit of use of footwear with a well defined tread to its sole, then you're apt to slip and fall.

Trips, in contrast, occur in situations in which a foot comes in contact with another object while moving in a forward direction, ultimately causing an individual to lose their balance. An example of this would be you not noticing a raised area on the sidewalk, your shoe making contact with it and you losing your footing as a result.

As for falls, they involve sudden movement from a higher level to a lower one. Among the more common examples, they include falling out of chairs, off ladders or down stairs.

When it comes to avoiding slips, trips and falls, there are a number of precautions your can take. To avoid slipping when walking on a wet surface, you should not only take shorter strides, but also slightly point out your feet. You should also avoid making tight turns as well. In hazardous weather situations, you should wear the most slip resistant shoes you have.

As for trips, avoiding carrying a package that may obstruct your ability to see uneven or broken pavement or elevator thresholds in front of you is ideal. Additionally, if you wear eye wear that becomes foggy, you should stop to clean it right away so that your vision is not obstructed.

As for avoiding falls, it's important to avoid standing in chairs when attempting to get to objects out of reach. And, when walking down stairs, you should avoid skipping any steps, always use handrails and walk instead of running or skipping.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a slip, trip, or fall, a Chicago, Illinois, personal injury attorney can provide advice and guidance in your legal matter.

Source: cmu.edu, "Slip, trip and fall prevention," accessed March 24, 2017

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