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 are at an unprecedented level. The excitement of holiday cheer tends to blindfold people from basic safety procedures. The majority of holiday accidents are due to negligence and forgetfulness.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has halted or canceled traditional holiday plans for most, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) predicts dangerous roads this year following a recent report of more risky driving behavior (speeding, driving under the influence). 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
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. Fire accidents are at an all-time high during the holiday season.
Cooking fires during Christmas and Thanksgiving are the leading cause of house fires and injuries. A majority of home cooking fires are a result of unattended or improper use of cooking equipment. 2 of every 5 house fires were reported to have started in the kitchen or cooking area.
Aside from holiday cookie baking gone wrong, there are many other fire hazards around the home waiting to ignite if no precautions are taken. Candles left burning, careless use of space heaters, and various electrical malfunctions are all common hazards that have resulted in fire accidents, causing:
- Severe Burn Injury (from first-degree to fourth-degree burns)
- Respiratory Injury (caused by smoke inhalation)
- Brain Injury
- Other Catastrophic Injuries
If you or a loved one was involved in a fire accident or electrical accident due to the negligence of another party, it is best to call an experienced Orange County accident attorney to discuss getting compensation for the damages. Contact the Irvine burn injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas for a free consultation, call 949-727-9300.
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. Christmas tree fires often are started by a lit candle that was placed too close, old/damaged tree lights, overpacked electric outlets, or a dried-out tree.
Holiday tips for proper Christmas tree maintenance:
- 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 burn injury. During the holidays, most burn injuries are inflicted amid food preparation or from the hot temperatures of the most classic holiday beverages (seasonal coffee, hot chocolate, tea).
Cooking, drinking, or serving hot liquids is related to 85-90% 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. If you are driving on wet roads be cautious of speed and others around you to avoid hydroplane accidents. Wet road accidents account for the vast majority of weather-related accidents. Slip and fall accidents are also a common occurrence during the holidays, from a wet sidewalk pavement to tripping over electrical wires from holiday decorations. 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 a reference for ideal weather conditions. If the weather turns radical, it is best to move at a slower 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, placemats outside your door for visitors to wipe their feet before stepping inside. Make a 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.
If you suffer injuries from a trip and fall accident caused by the negligence of another party, call an experienced Irvine slip and fall accident lawyer to discuss getting compensation for the damages. Contact the Orange County personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas for a free consultation, call 949-727-9300.
Attention: Auto Accident Ahead
Auto accidents are at an all-time high during the holidays. Whether it be the Fourth of July, Christmas, or any other nationally recognized holiday, drivers should be extremely vigilant of their surroundings on the road. The majority of car accidents that occur during the holidays are due to:
- Driving under the influence (DUI Accident)
- Road rage (Reckless Driving Accident)
- Traffic congestion (Traffic Accident)
- Distracted driving (Rear-End Accident)
- Weather-related; unsafe road conditions (Hydroplane Accident)
- Stress or exhaustion; driving long distance (Fatigued Driving Accident – Road Trip Accident)
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.
Car accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident caused by the negligence of another party, call an Orange County car accident lawyer immediately, as you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Irvine auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas for a free consultation, call 949-727-9300.
Contact an Experienced Orange County Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered any injuries caused by a negligent party, discuss your legal options with an Orange County accident lawyer as you may be entitled to compensation. The Irvine personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can help. For more information or to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our Irvine accident attorneys, call 949-727-9300.