The hustle and bustle of the holidays are not routine in any way. With so much going on, like juggling family visits, time with friends, parties, shopping, and holiday-related activities, such as putting up Christmas trees and lights or the family Menorah, your life can become chaotic and crazy for a few weeks in December. Amidst the chaos, it’s easy to get distracted and forget about important safety risks that could endanger you, your family, and your friends.
Here are a few overlooked holiday safety tips that apply to common situations where you might not think much about safety risks.
Never drink and drive—or allow others to drink and drive.
This first tip may actually seem obvious, but the holidays have the habit of loosening up our usual tendency to avoid drinking and driving. After all, drinking feels less dangerous in the comfortable setting of someone’s home or mixed in with plenty of food and football on TV. And family members or friends might just live “down the road,” so they’re more likely to get in a car while drunk.
No matter the situation, don’t let it happen! The same rules apply as if it was summer and you are at a sports bar or restaurant. If you’re drinking, make sure you have a designated driver, another way back home (such as a taxi, Uber or Lyft), or an invitation to stay overnight. Similarly, if you’re hosting a party, make sure you provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages as options while also ensuring that all of your guests do not drink and drive.
Watch kids even closer than usual.
If you’re a parent, you’re already on autopilot to keep your kids out of trouble. So, you might think it’s insulting to get reminded about something you already do 24/7. But holidays do add a significant number of unusual safety risks that may harm your kids. For example, there are more distractions. You’ll often be in groups of many people who all want to socialize with you, and so it’s easier to lose track of what your kids are doing.
Plus, your kids are exposed to more objects that aren’t child-safe. During the holidays, there’s more of a chance your kids will enter and stay for a few hours at someone else’s house. That person may have dangerous stairs or objects (such as glass or sharp objects) out in plain sight. Also, your kids will have access to new toys and different foods and drinks that they may be allergic to, or could harm or injure them.
Plan ahead when traveling by car, and be doubly alert while driving.
Whether you’re driving short distances at night to the mall or traveling long distances by car to visit relatives in another state, you need to up your level of car safety during the holidays. Locally, watch out for drunk drivers, angry drivers, and speeders. Holiday shopping is a stressful activity that makes a lot of drivers angry—and they often lash out on the roads. Try to shop during the day and shop at lesser-trafficked stores or hit up the big malls on weekdays while many people are at work.
For long interstate drives:
- Drive as much as you can by day. Night driving increases your risk of accidents and getting lost.
- Don’t let a single driver drive more than 10 hours a day. Stop at a reasonably-priced hotel or stay with a friend or family member along the way to split up a long trip.
- Be prepared for winter weather. If you’re used to Savannah’s winter weather, the Northeast and Midwest could give you quite a shock. Avoid driving in blizzards, make sure you have winter basics like a brush and an ice scraper, and drive extremely carefully on unplowed or badly plowed roads.
- Get your car serviced before a long trip—and especially make sure your oil and tires are in tip-top shape.
- Carry an emergency kit. There are plenty of examples online.
- Share your itinerary with a family member or friend. At least one person should know where you’re traveling.
While there are many other holiday safety tips, these three cover some of the riskiest and easiest to forget aspects of the holiday season. By preventing drunk driving, protecting your kids, and making sure you travel safely by car, you positively affect not only your own safety but also the safety of those you love.
Experienced an accident or injury during the holidays? Call us for a free consultation.