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As the weather gets colder, the days get darker, and we are out and about for the holidays running errands, shopping trips, dinners, and gatherings galore, it’s smart to pause and make sure we are not cutting corners on safety. With a little care and planning, most ”accidents” and injuries can be prevented. If someone else failed to act safely and reasonably and you were injured, give us a call for some free advice. Be safe this holiday season! Below are some general tips and ideas for safety this season.
Driving. According to the National Safety Council, automobile travel involves the “highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation.” In 2013, 343 people died on New Year’s Day, 360 on Thanksgiving Day, and 88 on Christmas Day. According to Injury Facts 2016, “Alcohol-impaired fatalities represented 31% of the totals.” While these statistics are alarming, there are ways to keep you and yours safe this holiday season and beyond.
• Use a designated driver for yourself or to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party.
• Avoid alcohol and over-the-counter or illegal drugs as they all cause impairment.
• Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance being traveled.
• Put that cell phone away; distracted driving causes one-quarter of all crashes.
• Properly maintain the vehicle and keep an emergency kit with you.
• Be prepared for heavy traffic and possibly heavy snow.
• Slow down in inclement weather. All wheel drive does not help you on black ice.
• Don’t tailgate and give lots of room to the car ahead.
• Drive defensively.
At Home. The National Safety Council also suggests extra care when guests are staying in your home. You can make simple changes such as making sure areas have night lights or easy-to-reach lamps in case someone needs to get up during the night, and making sure all medications are kept up and away and out of sight from young children.
Toys and Giving Safety. This time of year there are some great deals on reused products. If buying a used product, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure that the product has not been recalled. Avoid small parts when buying for children under three. And be aware of problems with “coin” lithium batteries as they can be easily swallowed.
Shopping. In our raining or snowy weather, wear shoes with traction to avoid slips when entering or leaving stores. Avoid car thefts by never leaving packages in your car. Be aware of your surroundings and lighting when walking to your car in a dark parking lot. Have your keys ready to avoid fumbling with keys and packages at your car. If something or someone doesn’t feel ”right,” go back to the store, alert a security guard, or find other shoppers. It’s better to be embarrassed than a victim.
Prevent Fires. Be cautious when using tree lights, candles, space heaters, or the fireplace for the first time. Make sure electrical cords are in good condition without frayed wires or loose connections. Never leave a burning candle unattended, and keep candles away from trees, curtains, or other decorations. Have a fire extinguisher handy.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. As the chill increases, do not heat your home with the gas range or oven. Never idle your car or truck inside an attached garage.
An article by Kathleen Kindred of The Walthew Law Firm.
Kathleen Kindred is a partner at The Walthew Law Firm and practices Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Law.