The holiday season deserves its reputation as “the most wonderful time of the year” but with the holidays comes wintery weather, poor road conditions, holiday traffic, travel, and shopping in busy, overcrowded stores staffed by exhausted employees and overwhelmed managers. Emergency rooms report increases in patients by as much as 12% during the Christmas holiday season. No one wants to spend their Christmas or Hannukka in the hospital or in meetings with lawyers to file personal injury claims. So, how does a holiday reveler avoid becoming a statistic while still enjoying the festive season?
Safety on the Roads During the Hectic Holiday Season
Roadways become congested with traffic during the holidays as people travel to visit family, go out to events in the community, and shop for gifts, trees, and decorations. It’s important to prepare for common holiday traffic conditions as well as for snowy, icy, roads during the Christmas season. The following tips can help keep you safe in holiday traffic:
- Change your car’s tires to snow tires if you live in cold, snowy climates
- Perform basic checks and routine maintenance on your car before taking holiday road trips
- Don’t drink and drive. If you plan to enjoy drinks while out celebrating the holiday with friends and family, designate a driver or use a rideshare service for transportation
- Avoid distractions while driving. Using a cell phone, eating and driving, and grooming while driving all contribute to accidents during the holiday season
- Stay home in icy, snowy weather whenever possible
- If you must drive in wintry weather conditions, slow your speed to accommodate the risk of slippery roads
Busy holiday schedules make it more likely for drivers to be out on the roads despite the greater risks associated with winter driving. It’s important to remain extra vigilant while out and about during the holiday season.
Avoiding Decorating Disasters
Besides car accident injuries, one of the most common reasons people visit emergency rooms during the holiday season is due to injuries sustained from holiday decorating. Common injuries from decking the halls include the following:
- Falls from ladders while hanging Christmas lights or decorating trees
- Electric shocks
- Burns from fires from tree lights, holiday candles, and cooking disasters
- Back strains from lifting and hauling trees, gifts, and decorations
Decorating is one of the best aspects of the holiday season, but it’s important to take extra care to avoid an injury that keeps you out of the yearly celebrations.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents increase during the holiday season. Busy, cluttered stores, restaurants, and hotels with overworked employees may ignore safety hazards like fallen items and spills on the floor. Holiday lights with dangling cords and other decorations may also contribute to slip-and-fall accidents indoors. Outside, icy sidewalks, walkways, and steps may cause serious falls.
During the holiday season, people eat many seasonal foods, attend potluck-style parties, and over-indulge in alcoholic beverages. Food poisoning, food allergy reactions, and other food-related illnesses occur more often during the holiday season.
While enjoying holiday foods and festivities is a vital part of the holiday season, it’s important to resist over-indulging and ignoring dietary restrictions.
The holiday season is the worst time to experience an accident or injury, yet nearly 40,000 injuries occurred during Christmas in 2020, and over 46,000 on New Year’s. By avoiding common holiday hazards, we can keep the season merry and bright for ourselves and our loved ones.