Holiday Accidents: ‘Tis the Season to be Safe
As the countdown inches closer to Christmas Day and New Years, millions of people across the globe will start to make their way home for the holidays. Eager to arrive in time to carve the holiday ham, the risk for accidents and injuries is at an unprecedented level. The excitement of holiday cheer tends to blindfold people from basic safety procedures. Majority of holiday accidents are due to negligence and forgetfulness.
Of the numerous kinds of holiday accidents that occur from November through January, the most common result in fires and burns, slip and falls, and auto accidents.
Danger: Fire Hazard
These cold winter days are thawed by the heat of the chimney fire, warm scented candles, and endless cups of hot chocolate. What sparks memorable holidays with good company, can abruptly blaze into ash.
Oh, Christmas Tree
Hanging ornaments off a real Christmas tree is as authentic as it comes. However, real trees pose a huge fire hazard if you do not take the necessary precautions. Fires from a tree often are started by: a lit candle that was placed too close, old/damaged tree lights, or a dried out tree.
Holiday tips for proper Christmas tree upkeep:
- After selecting your tree, cut two inches from the bottom.
- To test if your tree is drying out, test the needles. If it instantly snaps when you bend it, it is time to discard the tree.
- Water the tree daily to keep it fresh.
- Replace your lights if they look to be worn out.
- Make a habit of unplugging your lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
The Third Degree
Though you may not be able to dodge your curious relative’s burning questions, you can at least take precautions to avoid a substantial third degree injury. During the holidays, most burn lacerations are inflicted amid food preparation or from the hot temperatures of the most classic holiday beverages (i.e. seasonal coffee, hot chocolate, tea).
Cooking, drinking or serving hot liquids is related to 85-90 percent of scald burns. Be mindful when you are serving hot beverages to guests or relaxing with a mugful yourself. High temperatures can cause burns at the mouth, or other parts of the body if the drink was to be spilled.
Holiday tips for handling hot beverages:
- Do not overfill the mugs.
- Keep hot beverages away from counter edges (at least 10 inches).
- Do not leave hot beverages unattended.
- Wipe up spills immediately.
- Transfer hot beverages into serving mug to lower the temperature.
Caution: Wet Floors
Another holiday joy is witnessing a “White Christmas”. For those in Southern California, the closest we get to that joy is when it hails on rare occasions throughout the year. However, snow or rain, sidewalks and roadways become treacherous. Whether you are driving or walking in the rain, it is best to be on high alert for any possible upcoming hazards.
Holiday tips for driving in the rain:
- Keep your distance from the cars in front and behind you to prepare for any immediate braking.
- Drive at a slower speed. The posted speed limits are reference for ideal weather conditions. If the weather turns radical, it is best to move at a lower speed.
- Heed caution when you are merging between lanes. Be on the lookout for any cars that might spin out of control from hydroplaning.
Holiday tips for walking in the rain:
- For homeowners, place mats outside your door for visitors to wipe their feet before stepping inside. Make note for guests to remove their shoes to avoid creating hazardous wet puddles in the house.
- Watch your step. Crazy weather storms can cause cracks or fallen debris on sidewalks. Pay close attention to avoid tripping over any wreckage or slipping in a rain puddle.
Attention: Auto Accident Ahead
Auto accidents are at an all-time high during the holidays. Whether it be Fourth of July, Christmas, or any other nationally recognized holiday, drivers should be extremely vigilant of their surroundings on the road. A majority of accidents that happen during the holidays are usually due to drug/alcohol, road rage, and other distractions.
Holiday tips to help avoid an auto accident:
- Drive within the speed limit. No matter how frustrating the heavy traffic flow seems, do not let your anger drive your vehicle. It is important to remain calm. Aggressive driving has resulted in 66 percent of traffic fatalities.
- Do not drink and drive. “Buzzed driving” is drunk driving. If you plan on drinking, plan accordingly (i.e. have a designated driver or take a taxi/rideshare). In 2016, approximately 10,497 people died in an alcohol related crash, which accounted for 28 percent of all traffic fatalities in America.
- Texting, it can wait. You are six times more likely to get into an accident if you are texting than drunk driving. Plan out your playlist and navigation route before you start driving to avoid having to pick up your phone while on the road.
If you or a loved one has suffered any injuries caused by a negligent party, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates have achieved over $135 million for their clients so far. For more information or to schedule a FREE consultation with one of the attorneys, call 949-727-9300.