The holiday season is especially exciting in Orlando, with parades and celebrations throughout the area and seasonal shows, festivals and special celebrations at all of our world-class theme parks. We even have fake snow and ice for those who want to experience a white Christmas!
At Bailey Fisher, we look forward to enjoying the festivities and celebrating the holidays; however, we know that in addition to being especially exciting, this time of year can be especially dangerous. From alcohol-impaired drivers to potentially hazardous decorations and gifts items, the holiday season is a time for taking special precautions.
Staying Safe on the Road
Although you can’t keep unsafe drivers off the roads or prevent all accidents, there are several things you can do to increase your safety while driving in the holiday season traffic:
- Buckle Up – Research shows that buckling your seatbelt is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from being injured when you’re in an automobile. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seatbelts are “the best defense” against dangerous drivers because they help keep you from being ejected from a vehicle or thrown forcefully into an air bag and getting seriously injured or killed during a crash.
- Avoid Driving If You’ve Been Drinking – Although we are all aware of the dangers of drunk driving, recognizing the immediate danger of driving after we’ve had a few drinks at a holiday party isn’t always easy. Therefore, having a designated driver or scheduling a ride with a ride sharing company beforehand is a good idea.
- Keep Your Eyes off Your Phone and Other Devices – Driving safely requires your full attention, so this holiday season, keep your eyes on the road, not on your text messages, Facebook feed, maps, climate controls, or sound system. Distracted driving greatly increases your risk of having an accident, so why take any chances when you know your devices and messages can wait?
- Avoid Speeding and Speeders – During the holiday season, everyone is trying to get to wherever they’re going as quickly as possible, despite the heavy traffic and confused tourists on the road. Unfortunately, speeding doesn’t pay, since it can cause serious accidents. (According to NHTSA, approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities involve speeding.) So please, this holiday season, try to stay calm, drive within the speed limit, and use defensive driving tactics to try to avoid collisions when others are driving aggressively.
- Avoid Driving When You’re Overtired – Drowsiness and fatigue can impair cognition and performance and lead to serious crashes, so try to get adequate sleep throughout the season, but especially before you head out on a long family car trip. If you are taking a road trip this year, safety experts advise avoiding all alcohol beforehand, driving during the day rather than during the middle of the night, and taking a break from driving and resting if you start getting sleepy.
Being Safe at Home
Numerous accidents occur during the holiday season because of slips and falls, fires, and new toys and gifts. Decorating safely and avoiding safety hazards when gifting are very important at this time of year.
- Christmas trees can be beautiful, but also very hazardous. Safety experts recommend making sure any artificial tree you put in your home is definitely fire resistant and live trees are watered adequately, placed far away from fireplaces, candles, and other heat sources, and removed from your home as soon as they are dry.
- Holiday lights can also be very festive but potentially dangerous. To avoid problems, make sure your lights are all in good condition, without broken or cracked sockets, frayed insulation, bare wires, or loose connections. Also make sure all plugs outside are off the ground so they don’t inadvertently end up in water.
- If you use a ladder to decorate and take down the decorations, please be careful. The majority of holiday-related injuries involve falls, and ladder falls can be extremely harmful. If you’re going to climb up on a ladder, have someone hold it and make sure it’s level and on firm ground. Face the ladder when you climb it, stand in the middle of the step, and keep both hands and one foot on the ladder at all times.
Keeping Children Safe When Gifting and Partying
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year, more than 166,000 children were treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries, and 17 children under the age of 15 died because of their injuries. Gifts and toys should make children happy, not cause harm.
To avoid safety hazards when gifting, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends:
- Following the age guidelines and other safety information on toy packages and choosing toys that are suitable for a child’s age, interests and abilities.
- Purchasing helmets and other safety gear to accompany riding toys and ensuring that helmets fit properly.
- Keeping small balls and toys with small parts away from children younger than 3. (Small batteries and magnets are especially dangerous, as they can be fatal, if swallowed.)
- Throwing away deflated balloons immediately and putting away other party decorations as soon as possible so that young children don’t choke on them.
- Getting rid of half-empty drink glasses and bottles quickly so that children don’t drink from them and suffer alcohol poisoning.
Best Wishes for Your Safe and Happy New Year
During the holiday season and throughout the new year, we hope you and your family will be safe and happy, whether you’re in Orlando, traveling somewhere else in Florida, or out of state. We know, however, that many people get injured at this time of year, no matter how vigilant they are about following safety guidelines while on the road and while at home.
If you or a family member is injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, please call the experienced Orlando personal injury attorneys at Bailey Fisher. We’ve helped hundreds of Florida families during some of their most difficult times and are committed to advising and helping you and your family.
National Safety Council (2019). Enjoy a safe holiday season.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2019). Holiday safety information center.
U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2019). Buckle up and don’t drive impaired this Thanksgiving holiday.
U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2019, Oct.). Traffic safety facts. 2018 fatal motor vehicle crashes overview.