Atlanta residents weren't walking in a winter wonderland this January as thousands of people were snowed in on the roads or in buildings after a winter storm.
Some people were stuck in their cars for as long as eight hours as accidents and slushy roads gridlocked traffic on the interstates, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Even many students and teachers were stuck overnight in schools due to the road conditions.
In a city that rarely sees a snowstorm of this magnitude, what can snowed-in Atlantans do to stay safe?
1. Stay off the roads, but if you must drive, keep your distance. One of the major causes of the interstate winter traffic nightmare is unsafe drivers. "People are panicking," said Karlene Barron, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, "and it's causing worse problems." Whenever there are tough road conditions, slow down and keep at least an extra 10 feet between you and the car in front of you. Poor driving conditions have resulted in 940 crashes, the Journal-Constitution reports, so stay off the roads if you can.
2. Shovel your sidewalk. Some Atlantans may truly be snowed in and trapped in their homes, but if you can get outside, it's important to shovel your sidewalk. Landowners and occupants may be liable when people slip and fall while walking on their sidewalks. Generally, property owners are responsible for keeping their property free of hazardous conditions, including snow and ice-covered walkways.
3. Prevent hypothermia. If you get stranded in your car overnight or are snowed in somewhere without electricity, hypothermia is a real concern. Hypothermia occurs when the body's core temperature falls below 98.6 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It can cause you to lose consciousness, and it can be fatal. To protect yourself, wear hats, gloves, and scarves to prevent heat from escaping from your head, neck, and face, the Mayo Clinic suggests. Also, wear layers and stay dry.
Fortunately, National Guard troops and state police were able to escort school buses on Wednesday so that the thousands of children who were trapped at schools overnight by wintry weather were able to return home, The Weather Channel reports. While weather conditions seem to have improved, people in Atlanta should still be cautious of winter weather risks.
- Thousands of students were stranded at schools in the Atlanta area (USA Today)
- Shovel Your Sidewalk or Face Potential Liability (FindLaw's Injured)
- Icy Roads: At Fault Even When Driving Speed Limit? (FindLaw's Injured)
- Browse Personal Injury Defense Lawyers in Atlanta (FindLaw)