We're at just the perfect time of year for something tragic to happen - slips and falls on icy sidewalks.
A real problem culprit is where snowdrifts along sidewalks melt from beneath during the day and freeze at night. The result is a slicker-than-snot sidewalk that could send a high-wire walker reeling.
There are a number of ways to fix this calamitous situation, though.
First, try to find some way to keep snowdrifts from thawing onto sidewalks. This could be done by edging grassy areas along sidewalks in late fall so moisture seeps into the cracks on sidewalks. Another might be to place an edging border of stone, brick, plastic or metal along walks to catch melting snow.
Another, of course, is to put snowmelt or salt on walks prone to icing over. If you're concerned about damage to newer sidewalks, there's a granite-like material you can use to give a little grit to the surface so people don't go slipping and sliding away.
In the event of large-scale runoff, it might be necessary to use an ice chipper to break away ice. Yes, this sounds (and is) a lot of work. But it sure would be a lot easier, and cheaper, than having to pay someone's hospital bill.
It's just a good idea, too, to keep an eye on your sidewalks or other areas where the public is likely to be walking.
The same goes for pedestrians. Avoid slick-soled shoes, particularly this time of year. Be especially careful when you're carrying packages in and out of the store. Without your hands free to keep you balanced, there really isn't a lot keeping you from kissing the ground if you should walk over a slick spot.
A little caution on the part of both property owners and pedestrians can help prevent an accident that could have serious consequences.
So, please. Be careful. And be safe.