OUR OPINION: Safety amid the storm

If the winter storm promises to be a pain, let it remain figurative rather than literal.

The forecast wintery mix and snowfall ranging from 12-15 inches will create inconveniences and difficulties, which will challenge us to maximize safety.

The cover story in today’s Health section details the dangers associated with shoveling snow.

An average of 11,500 snow-shoveling injuries and related medical emergencies were reported each year from 1990 through 2002, according to a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

The most recent estimates from 2009 indicate 26,000 injuries linked to the use of snow shovels, ice breakers, scrapers and similar implements.

A companion story in the Health section offers snow-shoveling safety tips we urge readers to consider before shoveling walkways or driveways.

Winter precipitation — particularly the magnitude of the predicted ice and snow — also pose severe hazards for motorists.

The Jefferson City Police Department urges people to avoid unnecessary travel.

Motorists who must venture out are advised to:

  • Allow for extra time to reach a destination.
  • Be aware increased distance is needed to slow or stop a vehicle.
  • Avoid distractions while driving, including cell phone use.

Finally, police remind motorists involved in an accident to contact the department immediately. The department will not take reports of noninjury accidents on private property if the parties involved are present. In those cases, the parties are advised to exchange information and report the accident to their insurance companies.

If the winter storm measures up to predictions, we will require all the preparation and patience we can muster to remain healthy and safe.

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