Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season but unfortunately, it’s also a time when accident frequency increases. Whether you’re traveling to visit family and friends, or at home preparing a holiday feast, remember to do it safely or not at all.
While many will choose to stay home this year, if you do travel, be sure your vehicle is in good running condition, you have plenty of rest and are prepared for any emergency. Use these tips to stay safe on the roads over the holidays and every day:
- Prepare your car for winter and keep an emergency preparedness kit with you.
- Get a good night’s sleep before departing and avoid drowsy driving.
- Leave early, planning for heavy traffic.
- Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance traveled.
- Put that cell phone away; many distractions occur while driving, but cell phones are the main culprit.
- Practice defensive driving.
- Designate a sober driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; alcohol or over the counter, prescription and illegal drugs can cause impairment.
Cooking is the leading cause of residential fires, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s report on Residential Fire and Loss Estimates. Of the 360,800 home fires every year, cooking fires account for nearly half of these. Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for cooking fires, with an average of 1,600 cooking fires occurring on this day — more than three times the daily average of cooking fires. If you’re on the hook to cook, follow these tips from the Red Cross:
- Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year if your smoke alarm requires it.
- Don’t wear loose clothing or sleeves that dangle while cooking.
- If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended — stay in the kitchen. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you’re simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food, check it regularly.
- Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on.
- Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area. Make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
- Keep anything that can catch fire — pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
- Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
- Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
- Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.