During the winter, property owners must be aware of the dangers of slipping on ice for those visiting their homes. In general, water freezes at 32 degrees, but that does not happen instantly. A variety of factors can influence how quickly water will freeze and create a hazard on sidewalks or other areas.
Understanding the point of freezing is helpful in winter when surfaces can become slick and pose safety risks. When property owners understand how ice forms, they can properly treat surfaces and prevent accidents.
Dropping temperatures and slippery surfaces
When the temperature dips, a freeze does not usually occur instantaneously, especially if there is standing water. It takes time for the water to freeze, depending on multiple factors, such as the size of the water puddle, the temperature of the water and the temperature of the surface. Some areas may freeze quicker than others, but whenever ice and snow are present, you should assume surfaces are slippery and walk carefully to avoid a fall.
Liability for slip and falls
Property owners are generally liable for falls that occur on their land. If you own a property, you should shovel snow as soon as possible after a storm. You should also put down salt to melt ice. If you have a particularly dangerous spot that is difficult to keep clear, you may consider putting up signs warning people who may walk through the area.
A slip-and-fall accident can result in serious injuries that require costly medical care and long recovery times. If the incident occurs due to negligence on the part of the property owner, the injured person could seek damages under premise liability laws.