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Major Meltdown: The Dangers of Falling Ice

| Jan 31, 2014

Freezing temperatures and nasty winter weather have led to the build-up of ice and snow on buildings, bridges, trees, and vehicles across the state of South Carolina. As the weather warms and temperatures rise, the layers of ice and snow start to thaw and become detached from roofs, windshields, cables, and branches and can create a seriously risky situation for anyone who happens to be underneath! Falling ice can be very dangerous and cause serious property damage and bodily harm.

“Ice Missiles” on Vehicles

Trucks and cars that have been sitting idly during the winter storm may have accumulated large piles of ice or snow on the hood, trunk, or windshields. When traveling at high speeds, sheets or chunks of ice and snow can shoot off and hit other surrounding vehicles. These “ice missiles” can cause serious damage, obstruct visibility through the windshield, and cause other vehicles to swerve evasively, creating a very dangerous situation. Make sure you defrost your windshields and knock off any snow or ice from your vehicle before you hit the road! If you see a vehicle covered in ice or snow, try to avoid driving near it or behind it.

Ice Falling from Tall Buildings, Bridges, and Trees

Falling ice is generally a greater threat in cities with very tall buildings, cell towers, and large bridges – where icicles can fall at deadly speeds of up to 80-90 MPH – but can cause harm when falling from any height. It can be very difficult to predict where ice may or may not accumulate on these taller structures, and how it will fall once the temperatures begin to rise. For instance, the Cooper River Bridge between Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina – locally known as The Ravenel – was recently reopened to traffic after being closed for 2 days due to icy conditions. While drivers were cautioned to watch out for remaining patches of ice on the road, it seems no one had expected or prepared for the frozen hazards looming overhead. Large sheets of ice began to drop from the bridge’s diamond-shaped columns and cables, damaging vehicles, shattering windshields, and causing injury to drivers below.

Look up!

Keep an eye out for low-hanging branches, weighted down by heavy amounts of ice. Avoid traveling during icy conditions; if you must drive, check traffic conditions through your local news stations and look for routes that don’t go under bridges or icy overpasses. When walking around town, walk at least 10 feet away from the side of tall buildings and structures – and bring an umbrella!

If you or a loved one has been injured by falling ice, seek medical attention right away. If you believe your falling ice injury is due to someone else’s negligence, you can contact a personal injury attorney in your area to discuss your options for filing a claim.

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