National parks are natural treasures, offering breathtaking landscapes, as well as several opportunities for adventure. However, amidst the beauty and excitement, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks and hazards that can lead to accidents and injuries that could ruin your most anticipated journey. As the summer approaches, national parks are one of the most common vacation destinations, and it is important to make sure that you are aware of the potential hazards, including accidents that may occur while you are enjoying yourself in the great outdoors. In this article we will be highlighting some of the potential causes of accidents that occur in a national park, as well as how to keep yourself safe this summer.
Slip and Fall Accidents
National parks are home to uneven terrains, steep and complex trails, wet surfaces, as well as several other factors that can contribute to slip and fall accidents. Here is how to avoid them:
- Wear appropriate footwear with good traction to help you to avoid slipping or falling
- Stay on designated paths and trails to avoid uneven terrain. Not only will this reduce your risk of injury, it is the law!
- Take caution in slippery areas, These can be near waterfalls, mud, or on moss-covered rocks.
- Pay attention to warnings signs that may warn of rough trails.
- Make sure to follow all park regulations. They are created by professionals and are there for your safety and to protect our natural wonders.
When at a national park it is to be expected that you may find wildlife. These encounters can be special as these creatures can appear to be so serene, friendly, and harmless. However, it is essential to exercise caution and respect for the animals and their habitats. Here are some tips to help minimize any wildlife related risks:
- Make sure to maintain a safe distance from wildlife. These animals are not tame, so make sure to respect their space. It is also important to remember to not approach these animals or feed them. Doing so can not only lead to you being injured, it may also be illegal.
- Familiarize yourself with park guidelines regarding wildlife encounters.
- Do not attempt to take selfies or get too close for a photo opportunity with animals, these are wild animals, and they may attack if they feel provoked.
- If you encounter a potentially dangerous animal, such as a bear or a moose, slowly back away and give it space. Read the park’s suggestions for wildlife encounters and take the suggested precautions. Most injuries from animals in our National Parks are caused by failure to follow the park’s rules.
Hiking and Trail Accidents
Hiking is a popular activity in national parks, but it can come with its share of risks. It is important to make sure that you are prepared before you take to the trails. Here are some tips to stay safe while hiking:
- Plan and prepare adequately for your hike. Be sure to research the trail difficulty, as well as weather conditions, and duration before setting out.
- Make sure you carry essential supplies that include water, snacks, a first aid kit, a map, and a fully charged cell phone. Dress appropriately and wear proper footwear.
- It is vital to inform someone of your hiking plans, The NPS Search and Rescue (SAR) Dashboard’s data from 2017 reports that “there were 3,453 hikers reported missing, and 182 deaths from hiking that year alone. Be sure to include the route you will be hiking as well as the expected return time”.
- Stay on marked trails and follow any safety warnings or closures.
- Be mindful of your physical abilities and choose trails that align with your fitness level.
Roads within national parks can be narrow, winding, and sometimes congested. As car accidents are the leading cause of injury in national parks it is important to make sure that you are driving safely. To prevent car accidents:
- Be aware of your surroundings and adhere to the speed limits and traffic regulations within the park.
- Stay alert and watch for wildlife crossing the road.
- Pull over in designated areas to enjoy the scenery or take photographs.
- Avoid distracted driving, such as using cell phones or engaging in other activities that divert your attention from the road.
Water Related Incidents
Drowning is the third most common cause of death in a National Park according to the National Park Service. It is important to keep that in mind if you are planning any excursions to a lake, river, or reservoir that you should follow the recommended safety guidelines suggested by the National Park Service. These include the following tips to stay safe:
- Observe warning signs on the water and be sure to swim in designated swimming areas.
- Wear appropriate safety gear, such as life jackets, and water shoes, when participating in water activities.
- Be cautious of changing water conditions, currents, and potential hazards like submerged rocks.
- Keep active supervision of all children when near bodies of water.
Whether you are out hiking or swimming it is crucial that you keep safety as your top priority. In the event that you are injured and it was not your fault, it can be important to reach out to an experienced injury attorney. The injury attorneys at LifeLaw Personal Injury are here to help you throughout every step of the legal process, providing you with top notch communication and legal expertise. Contact LifeLaw Personal Injury today for a free consultation to discuss your options.