Many people take to the stores on December 26th – known throughout the world as Boxing Day – to return gifts, exchange unwanted items, or to spend a little more holiday money.
It's believed that the origins of Boxing Day come from when British nobility would distribute gifts to servants – much like a medieval holiday bonus. Others suggest it's derived from the day churches would open their alms boxes and distribute donations to the poor.
While there may be many traditions that exist, Boxing Day has become a day to visit your favorite shops and stores before the holiday season passes.
And since we're an injury law firm, we want to give you some safety tips for your Boxing Day outings. Winter weather can cause a number of unseen hazards for businesses and customers, especially during high-traffic days. So if shopping is on your agenda this Boxing Day, look out for these unsafe scenarios when you're visiting nearby businesses.
Business owners have a responsibility to keep their parking lots and walkways clear of snow and ice hazards. If you were to get injured on a business's property, they would be liable for any costs associated with that injury.
December weather is often difficult to predict. With temperatures constantly shifting above and below freezing, snow may begin to melt one day only to freeze the next. This can cause seriously slick surfaces, which are especially dangerous when you're out shopping.
So when you're crossing parking lots and sidewalks on your way into the store, be mindful of snow or ice that might cause you to fall. Keep an eye out for shiny surfaces, unsalted areas, or even well worn pathways where snow has become hard and smooth.
Many businesses aim to keep their floors dry by using weather mats. They're often placed directly in front of doors and entrances in order to prevent snow and ice from being tracked through the store.
However, with increased foot traffic, these rugs can roll and easily trip patrons. When entering a store, make sure to keep an eye out for any cuffed weather mats. If you see a rolled rug, make sure to bring it to the attention of an on-duty worker.
You'll find escalators in most malls these days. While they're convenient when toting an armful of shopping bags, they can also be dangerous if something goes wrong.
As shoppers pile onto escalators, there is an increased likelihood of an accident. Sometimes the movement of these machines can catch someone off guard and cause them to fall, which can create dangerous chain reaction down these moving stairs.
Be sure to take your time when riding the escalator and keep any small children from sitting or playing on these machines.
While weather mats are used keep floors dry, sometimes they're left down too long or aren't put down at all. This can create slippery environments, especially in businesses with tile or hardwood flooring.
Always be on the lookout for yellow caution signs. They're highly visible and can help warn you of wet floors. If you notice water collecting while you're shopping, be sure to notify a nearby worker immediately.
Being hit by a car in a parking lot or while walking to a store is real concern during high-volume shopping days. If bad road conditions are present, it makes the likelihood of a pedestrian accident even greater.
Drivers in parking lots are often distracted by a number of things. Whether it's finding the nearest open spot or watching for other cars pulling out, a driver's attention is divided between many different things.
Constantly be on the lookout for distracted drivers when you're walking across parking lots and crosswalks.
Of course, it's not just Boxing Day when you should consider potential winter hazards. Suffering an injury is the last thing you need, especially when you're out for a day of shopping.
By taking a few extra precautions this year, you can help prevent an accident or injury. For more information, check out our Slip and Fall Safety Tips. We hope you have a safe and healthy Boxing Day.