The holidays are a wonderful opportunity to get together with family and friends to show everyone just how much they mean to you. This often involves a lot of traveling and more nights than usual in the presence of company.
This increased sociability comes with a lot of traditions. Decorations, get-togethers, gift-giving — all of it is a lot of fun but can come with some season-specific dangers.
We want you to be able to enjoy your holiday season as safely as possible. This is why we’ve put together a quick list of some common holiday accidents and tips on how to prevent them. As a personal injury attorney, we’ve seen a lot of different accidents and have noticed some trends over the later months in the year.
Here are 7 tips to stay safe this holiday season:
- Keep an Eye on the Tree
- Be Aware of Drowsy Driving
- Don’t Climb a Ladder Alone
- Use Proper Lifting Techniques
- Watch Out for Impaired Drivers
- Pay Attention in the Kitchen
- Recognize Holiday Stress
1. Keep an Eye on the Tree
December sees a lot of people bringing a Christmas tree into their house. And while we might have a pretty good idea about how to take care of a tree when it’s in the yard, many don’t know how to care for it once it comes inside.
Keep your tree watered. A dry tree quickly becomes a fire hazard. Make sure all of the lights hung on the tree are in good condition to avoid adding the necessary spark that can have some very harmful effects.
2. Be Aware of Drowsy Driving
The members of our family — along with our friends — don’t always live as nearby as we might like. This leads a lot of people to travel over the holiday season. Long trips on the road can lead to general fatigue.
Driving while tired can have a similar effect to being drunk. And while drunk driving rightly gets a lot of attention, drowsy driving can be equally dangerous. Recognize the signs of growing tired when behind the wheel. Either pull over and find a safe place to rest or let someone else take the wheel.
3. Don’t Climb a Ladder Alone
Decorating the exterior of your home is one of the simple joys of the holidays. However, this can create some dangerous situations. Climbing to the roof of your home increases the potential for harmful falls. And often, people do this work by themselves.
Hanging lights might not seem like a two person job, but having someone to steady the ladder can be the difference between a festive display and a trip to the emergency room. Always ask somebody to spot you when climbing a ladder.
4. Use Proper Lifting Techniques
Decorations, presents, groceries — there are a lot of opportunities to strain your back during the holidays. Moving between the homes of family and friends carrying packages and presents can result in straining your back.
Always lift with your legs and not your back. Maintain proper posture. And don’t be afraid to make two trips to the car. There’s no award for carrying everything at once besides maybe some back pain.
5. Watch Out for Impaired Drivers
All of these get-togethers mean more people are going to be enjoying an adult beverage every now and again. The rates of DUIs tend to increase around the holidays. This means that it can potentially be more dangerous to drive down the road — particularly at night — during this time.
Be aware of the signs of an impaired driver:
- Inconsistent speed
- Erratic braking
- Abrupt turns
- Slow response to traffic or signals
- Driving without headlights
6. Pay Attention in the Kitchen
These get-togethers often have people cooking intricate dishes more often than they normally would. This increases the potential for kitchen fires or knife cuts.
This can be mitigated by maintaining strict attention to the task at hand. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much at once. Take your time, mind the towels and oven mitts near the stove top, and cut your ingredients slowly.
7. Recognize Holiday Stress
Stress can lead to heart issues. It can also cause us to rush through our tasks and make mistakes that can be harmful. Stress is more than just uncomfortable — it’s dangerous. And the holidays, while fun, can also be a very stressful time.
Pay attention to how you feel. Recognize when stress is starting to seep into you. Give yourself as many breaks as you need to keep yourself under control. The holidays are about having a great time, after all!