In most years, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season. The excursions and pastimes people enjoy over the holiday weekend are traditions that many have been dearly missing as of late. However, these activities do come with some risks, so it can be useful to take stock of available safety measures and take sensible precautions to keep the celebrations from turning into a catastrophe. No one wants a personal injury to spoil the holiday weekend.
From grilling to swimming to fireworks, there are many kinds of possible accidents to avoid. Every year, car wrecks harm many travelers. This year, with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) still posing a threat, there are additional concerns for those who are beginning to resume former activities, as the virus-related restrictions are loosened to different degrees in many areas.
Below is a list of some unsafe scenarios that people should prepare for this Memorial Day weekend, in light of the many threats to safety that could upend plans to enjoy the warming weather and the return to a semblance of a social life with family and friends.
General Accident Avoidance
Whether the plan involves a barbeque, a pool party, or a long-put-off home repair project, long weekends tend to call for people to make good use of their time. When making plans, however, safety should never be far from mind. Barbeques, flat-top grills, and fire pits come with the threat of burns, especially for small children. Precautions must be taken to ensure that the area of these heat sources is not easily accessed by young children. The same is true for access to pools or unattended swimming. Even adults should swim with a buddy. People should know the risks and take precautions to ensure everyone’s safety.
Fireworks should be used only by a responsible and sober adult. Another burn issue is exposure to the sun. Those spending time outside should make sure to use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SFP) of 30 or higher, as skin can be prone to a particularly harsh sunburn early in the season before sunscreen use has become routine.
For those trying to get something done around the house this holiday weekend, care should be taken by anyone using a ladder, working with chemicals such as paint thinners, or sharp or fast-moving tools.
Concerning COVID-19, a good rule for travelers is to follow the local regulations. In the era of the pandemic, it has become a matter of law. Travelers should take time to learn the local travel quarantine requirements, rules regarding social distancing, and mask mandates in the area they will be visiting. These rules are intended to keep everyone safe.
Another Memorial Day travel safety issue that comes with new concerns this year is vehicle preparation. Although it is always a good idea to have the vehicle looked over before a long trip, the extended time that many vehicles sat unused over the past year may make this advice even more important. Travelers should have a mechanic check the car’s oil and fluid levels as well as condition of the tires and tire pressure, and the condition of the car’s brakes, battery, lights, and wiper blades.
Travelers should prepare for the drive by packing a few snacks to limit possible virus exposures along the way. Hygiene must be kept in mind when rest stops are necessary by keeping hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes handy.
Driving Safety Tips
The rules of the road have not changed when it comes to driving safety, but this year is a little less predictable than most prior Memorial Day weekends. In years past, the long weekend has seen nearly 40 million travelers hit America’s roads for holiday escapes more than 50 miles away from home, according to data collected by AAA. It remains to be seen if people will stick closer to home or if they will come out in droves, as a consequence of successful vaccine efforts and caseload counts that change travelers’ COVID-19 risk calculations.
It is true that more vehicles on the roads translates into a greater chance for an accident. Still, no matter how many people are on the roads, many of the precautions that keep drivers and passengers safe remain the same.
Wear a seat belt. The most important defense against injury in a car accident is a seat belt. The simple act of buckling up has saved countless lives.
Follow the speed limit. Speeding increases the chances of a driver losing control of their vehicle. It also increases the damage that can result from a car wreck. The impact of an accident is proportional to the speed at which the cars were traveling when they collide. The faster the traveling speed, the more deadly a potential wreck. Drivers should mind speed limits even when the roads are empty and road conditions are favorable; by that logic, they should also be sure to reduce their speed to accommodate traffic congestion as well as weather and visibility issues.
Pay attention. Every driver should keep their eyes on the road. Any distraction could be deadly. Phones and other devices should be stowed away while driving to avoid temptation. If the motorist is using a GPS, the trip should be set before the driving gets underway, not while driving on a busy road.
Do not tailgate. Drivers anxious to get to their destination may be tempted to get too close to the car in front of them. Whether it is genuinely unintentional or a deliberate tactic to send a message to a car seen as slowing things down, drivers who tailgate are putting themselves and others in danger.
Get enough rest. Before setting out on a long drive, drivers should be well rested. During the course of a road trip, drivers should remain mindful of their energy level, allowing for breaks to refresh and rest. Taking a short 10 to 15 minute break every two hours of driving, and taking time for a nap when grogginess begins to set in, can make a life-saving difference.
Do not drive impaired. Motorists must never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Whether the trip is long or just around the corner, taking the chance is not worth it. Drunk driving is one of the most common causes of accidents every Memorial Day weekend. All drivers should know this and do their part to avoid tragic accidents that are completely avoidable with responsible planning.
Huntsville Personal Injury Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Fight for Accident Victims
If you or someone you love was hurt in an accident over the Memorial Day weekend, you should be able to receive compensation from the person at fault in your accident. The Huntsville personal injury lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. can help you identify the responsible party and build a case for damages. We can make a case for you to collect compensation for medical costs stemming from the accident, lost wages suffered during your recovery, and possible pain and suffering, among other potential losses. For a free consultation, call us at 256-539-3110 or 888-539-3110, or contact us online. Our Athens and Huntsville, Alabama, offices represent clients throughout North Alabama, including Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.