As we enter the holiday season, many of us are looking forward to the good food we will share with family and friends. But Thanksgiving brings with it an increased risk for injury. Whether it’s inexperienced cooks trying to fry their first turkey or the many thousands of travelers who will be on the roads, following a few simple safety tips could help you avoid Thanksgiving accidents!
Common Thanksgiving Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Thanksgiving holiday sees an increase in crashes and fatalities. In 2021, more than 500 people were killed in auto accidents during the holiday season. There is little mystery behind the dramatic rise in car accidents and traffic deaths over Thanksgiving weekend every year. Risk factors that lead to more collisions, including:
- More Drivers on the Roads
Traveling by car is consistently the most popular form of transportation for Thanksgiving weekend. According to American Automobile Association, there will be roughly 50 million Americans on the roadways traveling 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving. As more people head out onto the highways to drive a few hours to see friends and family, the risk of car accidents drastically increases.
- Drunk Driving
There are many reasons why people drink during the holidays. Forbes magazine created a list of “Ten Reasons to Drink during the Holidays.” It goes into the social nature of the holidays with family visits and holiday parties. For many, holidays are a time of loneliness and stress. After imbibing, some drivers make the poor decision to get behind the wheel. Mothers Against Drunk Driving offer several tips to keep drunk drivers off the road during the holidays. These include:
- Offer plenty of food to keep your guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
- Serve mocktails or non-alcoholic beverages as a fun and festive alternative for designated drivers.
- Follow the laws and do not offer alcohol to guests under 21.
- As guests leave, confirm their plan for a safe ride either via a designated driver or shared ride like Uber.
- Avoid over drinking and over-serving guests. Plan for one drink per hour per guest and buy alcohol accordingly.
- Drowsy Driving
Many people get up early on Thanksgiving and drive to someone else’s home to spend a long day with family and friends watching football and stuffing themselves with turkey and all the fixings. This combination of factors often means people head home in the later afternoon or evening when they are tired. People who drive while too tired run the risk of not paying enough attention to notice hazards in the road, drifting into other lanes of traffic, and falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Poor Weather
The weather on Thanksgiving can be unpredictable. Poor weather conditions mixed with more people on the roads can easily lead to collisions. Rain can decrease visibility and reduce traction. If temps reach the lower 30s, the possibility of ice increases along with the chance of accidents.
During Thanksgiving, the kitchen is typically the hub of activity. From baking pie to making stuffing and hoping the turkey isn’t overcooked, a lot happens in the kitchen and a lot can go wrong.
- Knife Injuries
Knife injuries top the list when it comes to visiting the ER over Thanksgiving weekend. The best way to avoid these types of injury is to eliminate distractions.
- Food Poisoning
Chances of getting food poisoning increases this time of year. Thoroughly cooking a 20-pound turkey can be a tough task for anyone. Raw turkey or poultry that is mishandled or not stored correctly could make family or friends ill after the meal. Turkey should always thaw in the refrigerator and when cooked, it should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Brad says, “There are so many meat thermometers on the market, undercooking really shouldn’t ever happen. If you can’t easily pull the leg off, it’s probably not done.”
To avoid burns, always use oven mitts, even when pulling out the smaller dishes. Brad says, “It’s a good idea to keep a small fire extinguisher nearby when cooking. You never know when disaster may strike, and it’s always better to be prepared.”
Did You Know?
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is known as “Black Wednesday” as it is the busiest night of the year for bars. If you must be on the road, take extreme precautions and drive as far away from other vehicles as possible. Brad says, “Don’t contribute to the drunk driving epidemic. Use Uber, Lyft, taxis or designated drivers when traveling.”
If you find yourself in a car accident or suffering from another serious personal injury this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out by filling out our contact form or calling our office for a free consultation at (817) 440-3888.