Safety Tips for Hiking

ELI5: Negligence

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Though Summer is almost over, that doesn’t mean that it’s no longer hiking season. In fact, due to Utah’s warm weather, many people enjoy taking a good hike well throughout October. Hiking is an attractive hobby for many different reasons: it’s cheap, it promotes health, and the whole family loves it—even the dog. However, if you’re not prepared for a hike, this healthy hobby could actually be rather dangerous. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you have all the necessary essentials and make reasonable preparations before you begin your hike. Like other scenic places, Utah seems to be a magnet for stories about young hikers becoming seriously injured. If you’re looking to avoid serious injury this hiking season, you may want to review as many hiking safety tips as possible.


Let another person where you’re going, and when you’ll be back. This is a good idea even if you aren’t driving hundreds of miles out into the middle of nowhere. This is because it’s not uncommon to find yourself without cellular reception, even on trails right outside of cities. And, if you are injured on one of the trails where you don’t have cell phone coverage, you are likely not going to be able to call for help immediately. And there are no guarantees that another person will be on the trail at the same time you are. Therefore, when you’re going on a hike, tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. This way, the person you tell can send you the help you need if you aren’t back in time.


You likely know how much water you need, especially if you’re an experienced hiker. However, bringing extra water can always be helpful. If you’re new at hiking, or if you’re hiking more challenging trails, or the temperatures are particularly high, you should bring more water than you think you’ll need. This may come in handy for yourself, or for another person who needs it. If you know the weather is going to be pretty hot, it may also be a good idea to familiarize yourself with heat exhaustion as well as the signs that a person may be having a heat stroke. Remember, heat strokes are emergencies and need proper medical attention as soon as possible. Recognizing the signs, then getting medical attention could save lives here.


If you’re going hiking, make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for the terrain. If the terrain you’re hiking on is particularly rocky, you’re going to need shoes that are able to provide you with a lot of traction so you don’t slip while going down steep hills. It’s also important to wear shoes that have proper toe protection and ankle support. You should also spend some time breaking in your hiking shoes before going on a trail. If your shoes aren’t broken in, you may be in pain while attempting to navigate a more difficult terrain. This can at the very least make getting back more painful and difficult and at worst can cause you to slip and fall, and sustain serious injury. You’ll also want to make sure your shoes fit properly. This is particularly important for kids who are growing and may need a size up from what they were wearing last year.


Your dog probably loves hiking, but your dog probably doesn’t want to be injured either. Having your dog on a leash can give you more control of the dog. If they begin to walk toward something dangerous, such as a land feature, you can pull them back and keep them safe more easily if they’re on a leash. It’s important to remember that even the goodest boy may not love everyone. Even if your dog has never shown any aggressive tendencies, they should still be kept on a leash. A person turning the corner may surprise them, and when dogs are spooked, they could snap. Also, no matter how cute they are to you, not everyone loves dogs and can get frightened by seeing yours all of a sudden. For these reasons as well, you should always have your dog on a leash.


Make sure you’re not going to be up against the clock on your way back from your destination. Plan a hike that you know you can finish well before sunset. If you don’t feel as though you’ll be able to make it back before the sun sets, you should not continue the hike. You may struggle to find your way back to the start of the trail when it’s dark. Having a flashlight can help in an emergency. But you should never hike at night, especially if you aren’t sure that you can find your way home, or if you do not have much experience hiking that trail. Utah weather can also play an important factor. Storms can come up suddenly and make the hike much more dangerous. Whether it’s wet slippery rocks or rapidly dropping temperatures, poor planning can put you in a really bad situation that you might need help to get out of. 


At Moxie Law Group, our goal is to help keep everyone safe. Although we’re personal injury attorneys, we don’t want to see anyone sustain injury. For this reason, we produce educational content, and other resources—such as our accident checklist—to help others avoid having to go through the process of filing a personal injury claim. However, if you have been injured, and you need a personal injury attorney, contact us today to find out if we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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