4 Crucial Steps for Increasing Winter Sidewalk Safety

We all know winter has its hazards. The roads get slick, pipes freeze, and limbs snap under the weight of snow. As you watch out for all these issues, don’t forget to pay attention to your sidewalks. Whether they lie outside your home or business, sidewalks can create a liability issue in the winter. If anyone slips and falls on your property, you could be held responsible. That’s why you must diligently remove ice and snow as soon as possible. Here are some basic guidelines for sidewalk safety.


Start with prevention.


Before the first snowflake ever falls, check for issues that could threaten sidewalk safety. For example, fill in any holes and crevices where pools of ice could collect. Also, redirect your downspouts away from high-traffic areas so they don’t create ice patches.


During this time, you should also review your liability insurance. Ensure that you have enough coverage to handle any accidents that may happen due to your slippery sidewalks.


Act before every storm.


Watch the weather closely throughout the winter and pretreat your sidewalk before any storms or snowfall. Spread a thin layer of dirt, sand, gravel, or salt on the concrete, but don’t use too much. Large amounts of these materials can also get slippery and create hazards.


Remove snow and ice immediately.


As soon as a snowfall ends, grab your shovel, and remove snow and ice as quickly as possible. Start with the most trafficked areas first and move toward the less frequented places. If a roof overhangs the pathway, check it carefully for icicles before you finish. Sidewalk safety issues can develop above your head as well as below your feet.


Add another layer of salt or ice melt.


After removing as much snow and ice as possible, add another layer of salt or ice melt to your sidewalk. If you see any slush after applying these materials, push it off the pavement before it has a chance to refreeze. You should also throw away any excess salt.