It’s the most wonderful time of the year, except...
The holidays may be a season for peace and goodwill, but they can also be the time of year most rife with hazards. Learn about the dangers lurking around every bell-ringing corner and what you can do to stay safe this holiday season.
Danger on the Road
The holidays are a time for being with family, which equals a lot of travel and, unfortunately, a lot of vehicle accidents.
High Volume of Drivers
Of the 100,500,000 people on the move Christmas and New Years Days, 90,000,000 of those are traveling by car.
All this traveling brings with it increased risk for accident or injury and leads to an average of 343 traffic deaths every year during the three day Christmas holiday period.
Help prevent an accident during holiday travel by doing preventative car maintenance, driving at safe speeds, and buckling up – passengers and drivers, alike – to ensure you are taking every precaution.
Insure against accidents by making sure you’ve got the right auto insurance coverage in place.
In most states, basic liability coverage is required by law to drive a vehicle. That liability coverage will help pay for third-party damage and injuries on the road, but it doesn’t cover your own vehicle damage or injuries in the event of an accident. You may need uninsured motorist coverage if you’re hit by a driver who isn’t following the letter of the law or collision coverage for damage to your own vehicle if you’re at fault.
Bad Weather Conditions
Also contributing to the danger of driving in December are the bad weather conditions that tend to go hand-in-hand with the holidays. About 21% of annual vehicle crashes that occur each year involve hazardous weather, including heavy rains and snow that are common in December.
Help prevent an accident due to bad weather by checking driving conditions prior to travel and assuring that you are prepared to traverse them. Be sure your tires have enough tread, check that you have chains, and be sure you’re windshield wipers are in proper working order.
Insure against weather-related accidents by carrying comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage can ensure you’re covered from everything from ice-road collisions to run-ins with renegade reindeers.
’D’ Drivers Spell Danger
Irresponsible drivers bring a much greater hazard to your holiday road, including those who are:
- On Drugs
Intoxicated drivers play a big role in highway accidents, with one person dying in an alcohol-related accident in the U.S. every 51 minutes.
Distracted drivers – often using cell phones – also pose a big risk on the roads, with one in four U.S. car crashes involving cell phone usage.
Help prevent an accident due to ‘D’ drivers by making sure you are well rested and focused when driving and try to schedule travel during the day. Night travel increases your chances of being in an accident due to drowsiness or difficulty seeing, and also greatly increases your chances of being in an accident with an impaired driver.
Insure against dangerous drivers by carrying medical payments coverage to help with costly medical expenses or time off work after a covered accident.
Fires in the Home
There are many factors that contribute to increased risk of fires in the home during the holidays and many ways you can help prevent them.
Christmas Tree Fires
An average of 200 home fires per year is Christmas tree-related, resulting in an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8M in property damage annually. The median cost of a Christmas-tree related homeowners insurance claims is $100,000.
Help prevent Christmas tree fires by being sure you keep real trees well-watered and that artificial trees in your home are fire resistant. It takes no time – less than a minute – for a dry Christmas tree fire to rage out of control and move throughout your home.
In addition to making sure your tree is as fire-resistant as possible, be sure to increase safety by keeping it far from any open flames, including candles and fireplaces.
Insure against Christmas-tree related fires by carrying homeowners’ insurance. Fire damage is typically covered by a standard homeowners’ insurance policy. It can help replace and repair your home and personal property destroyed in the fire - including the presents that incinerated before they were opened.
Adding to holiday ambiance and charm, candles are also one of the biggest fire hazards in the home during the holidays. Four of the five most dangerous days of the year for residential candle fires are Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s day. The median cost of a candle-related claim is $50,000.
Help prevent candle fires by being sure you light them on a safe, fire-resistant surface and away from anything flammable, including decorations. And never light them anywhere on or around your Christmas tree. Never leave them unattended and make sure that candles are never within the reach of children.
Insure against candle fires by checking the limits of your homeowners’ insurance policy. Make sure you’ve got enough coverage to help you rebuild or replace your beloved home and possessions in the event of a fire.
The holidays are a time for getting cozy in front of the fireplace, but the prevalence of home fires started by them makes them yet another holiday hazard.
Faulty gas lines or chimneys that haven’t been kept clean can cause a crackling winter fire to turn into a danger for you, your loved ones, and your home.
Help prevent fireplace fires by making sure that you have your gas fireplace inspected for safety regularly or by assuring that your chimney is kept clean and clear of debris. Also, never put holiday decorations or Christmas trees anywhere near your fireplace.
Insure against fireplace fires by getting renters insurance if you don’t own your home. While your landlord’s insurance will typically protect their investment in the structure of the home you’re renting, it won’t protect your personal property. Renters insurance can help you replace your furnishings, electronics, clothing, and other valuable items in the event of a fire or other covered disaster at the home you rent.
While the holidays may bring with them many unforeseen dangers, there is a lot you can do to help prevent accident and injury as you celebrate with friends and family.