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Driveway Safety | Take Care to Avoid Dangerous Driveway Accidents

Driveway safety is of paramount importance to all homeowners, and should be taken very seriously, especially if young children or pets live in the household and use the driveway regularly.

Driveways provide easy and direct means of access and egress to the homestead, and therefore special care should be taken to ensure that traversing them is not dangerous or difficult. This is especially important during periods of inclement weather: certain driveway surfaces can be rendered incredibly slick and slippery by even modest rainfall; snow reduces traction and, even more alarming, can cover up patches of ice upon which adults, children, pets and even cars can lose traction. In North America alone, hundreds of driveway accidents occur each year, resulting in an average of 100 fatalities per year, most of them young children. Whether due to errant driving, poor visibility, inclement weather or sheer negligence, driveway accidents are the second leading cause of death among children.

Obviously, these statistics should alert parents to the importance of practicing good driveway safety. Children, for example, love to play on driveways, whether riding their bikes on them, or shooting hoops, or simply using them as large canvasses for chalk art. It is important to alert them to what blind spots might prevent or hinder driver visibility; younger children, who are not tall or large enough to be easily visible from the driver’s seat of cars, should be restricted from playing on the driveway or front yard altogether – for them, the backyard is far safer.

Pets, too, are hugely at risk: there is no greater cause of pet death than being run over by a car, and an alarming number of these tragic accidents occur on the driveway as the pet owner returns home. Obviously, increased vigilance is important, but there are steps that can be taken to prevent these accidents from occurring in the first place, such as training, or conditioning, your pets to avoid the driveway; this can be accomplished by various methods, one being an “invisible fence,” an electronic collar that gives a small but sharp shock to any pet approaching the periphery of the “fence.” Over time, the pet learns to avoid certain areas altogether, even once the collar has been removed.

A huge component of proper driveway safety involves clearing ice and snow off of the driveway surface in the winter. This can be incredibly time consuming, or it can be simplified by use of a heated driveway, or driveway heaters, but it is nonetheless extremely necessary: an icy driveway is a health hazard, each year causing numerous broken bones, cracked skulls and even fatalities. Even cars with winter tires are susceptible to slipping on a particularly icy driveway, which can, at best, cause damage to your car, and, at worst, injure a passenger or pedestrian. Furthermore, it is not merely the ice on your driveway that need concern you: any driveway that is adjacent to a home (and most driveways fall into this category) is at a danger from falling ice, which can collect upon the roof in clumps or hang menacingly in large icicles. These hang precariously, liable to falling at any minute upon unsuspecting visitors, and can cause grievous injuries, including death.

For these reasons, and many more, driveway safety is incredibly important, and should be attended to regularly.