The holidays are here, and that means time for celebrations, events, and get-togethers with friends and families. Although this time of year is one for holiday cheer and enjoyment, it is also a time known for increased risks of preventable accidents. In fact, statistics show certain types of accidents increase during the holiday season – which is why it becomes important for everyone to be aware of the risks they face and how to reduce them.
As our personal injury lawyers at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP have seen throughout the years, accidents and injuries can increase during holiday months. These are often due to unique hazards that come with holidays, as well as the negligence of individuals and entities that fail to make safety a priority. To help you avoid common accidents this holiday season, our legal team has put together a list of common risks and ways to reduce them:
- Car Accidents – Car accidents are a risk to everyone year-round, and especially so during the holidays. This is due to unique risks that come with increased traffic on our roadways as more Americans hit the road to celebrate and attend gatherings. To protect yourself when traveling by car, be sure you are prepared for any long trip by always inspecting your vehicle, knowing directions and where you need to go, and being extra vigilant behind the wheel. This means not only avoiding distractions and driving sober, but also driving at safe speeds and reducing your speed and following distance when circumstances call for it, such as when traffic is congested or weather conditions are poor.
- Alcohol-related accidents – The holidays have become notorious for spikes in alcohol-related accidents. In fact, Christmas, New Years’ and the days and weeks surrounding them see some of the highest rates of drunk driving accidents of any time throughout the year – which is why law enforcement officers commonly increase DUI enforcement efforts. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, and to avoid a DUI, you should always make it a priority to drive sober or plan for a safe ride. This means drinking responsibly at any celebration you attend, calling a taxi or rideshare service, staying the night at the location where you’ll be drinking, or making plans for who will be the designated driver.
- Fatigued driving – Numerous studies, including one from the AAA Transportation Safety Institute, have shown that driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, missing just one or two hours of sleep in a night can elevate crash risks similar to risks posed by alcohol intoxication above the legal limit! During the holidays when things can get hectic, be sure you get plenty of rest if you have plans to drive. You can also make a plan to switch drivers during longer trips, take rest breaks, or even plan rides with taxis, friends, or rideshare services if you won’t be rested enough to drive safely.
- Product injuries – Consumer products are part of the holiday season, and although fun, they can pose risks to children and adults alike. If you’ll be purchasing toys or goods as gifts, you can reduce risks of product-related injuries by checking for recalls of defective products. You should also make sure to supervise children using new toys when required, and that instructions are always followed. Unfortunately, not all precautionary measures can eliminate risks posed by defective products, which is why victims have a right to seek compensation for their damages by pursuing product liability claims.
- Decorations – Holiday decorations are a great way to bring the holiday cheer to your home, but they must be used safely. That means keeping trees and other flammable decorations away from candles, fireplaces, and heat sources. You should also be aware of any products that contain lead or other potentially dangerous materials, especially if you have children or family members who may be sensitive to substances in decorations like artificial snow.
If you or your loved one suffers a preventable injury during the holidays, you may have the right to take legal action and pursue a personal injury claim if those injuries could and should have been prevented. At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, our personal injury attorneys represent victims throughout Los Angeles, Ventura County, and Southern California following injuries caused by negligence, and we are prepared to review your case and discuss whether you have the right to financial compensation. Contact us for a free consultation.