Spring Thaw Dangers

Spring has arrived! Unfortunately, with Spring, comes the dangers associated with thawing. The warmer and fluctuating temperatures bring many hazards with it, including black ice, thin ice, falling ice, rising water levels and flows, floods and large and numerous pot holes.

When the temperature fluctuates between above freezing during the day and drops below freezing at night this can create black ice on sidewalks and roadways. It can also result in icicles or sheets of ice forming on roofs at night and then melting and falling off during the day. For this reason, it is important to keep an eye out both overhead and underfoot when walking, and ensure you adjust your driving for the weather and road conditions.

The warmer temperatures also bring thinning ice and eventually rising water levels and an increase in water flow. This is due to the melting snow and spring rains which increase runoff into lakes and rivers. As the water is cooler than the air at this time of year, less water evaporates resulting in raised water levels and increase in water flow. As such, it is important to stay off the ice and stay away from rivers and streams during the spring thaw.

Flooding is also a common occurrence in the spring. Although the weather is (unfortunately) out of your control, there are things that you can do to help avoid flooding in your basement. These include cleaning your eaves troughs and downspouts in the fall and spring, getting downspout extensions to carry water further away from your home, ensuring that the grading around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, ensuring nearby catchbasins (grates) are clear from debris and sealing any holes or cracks in your foundation.

Finally, the fluctuating temperatures cause large potholes to pepper the roadways come spring. Large potholes can cause serious damage to your vehicle, including damage to your tires, rims, steering alignment, suspension, exhaust system and engine. Given this, it is important that you keep a proper look out when driving and keep the pressure in your tires at the recommended levels. If you see a pothole and intend to swerve around it or slow down, be sure that the road around you is clear of other vehicles before doing so. If you damage your vehicle in a pothole, you can make a claim to the municipality where the pothole was located. However, the municipality will not be responsible if they have met the minimum maintenance standards.

About the Authors

A born-and-raised Barrie resident, Karen knows and loves her community. She is proud to be a partner in one of Canada’s most successful personal injury law firms—right in her own backyard. Karen joined Oatley Vigmond in 2013 as an associate lawyer. She holds a BA from Queen’s University and her Juris Doctor from Bond University in Australia. Prior to being called to the Bar in January 2013, Karen articled at a well-known personal injury law firm in Toronto.

To learn more about Karen, please click here.