Turkey celebrations and Thanksgiving football parties are just around the corner! Regardless of where you will be celebrating this year, start your holiday season off safely by knowing how to prevent these four-holiday hazards that could lead to disaster.
The AAA is predicting a record number of holiday travelers on the roads this week. At least 49.3 million Americans will be driving to their Thanksgiving feasts around the country.
Car travel is by far the most fatal method of travel, especially during holiday breaks. According to the National Safety Council (N.S.C.), more than 400 people die in motor vehicle accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday period. Some of the risk factors leading to an increase in tragic accidents include:
- Alcohol Consumption: Holiday celebrations increase the number of drunk drivers on the road who are traveling back and forth from Thanksgiving celebrations.
- Aggressive Driving: Holiday drivers are not always jolly. Some drivers increase their aggressive driving maneuvers around the holidays when traffic becomes heavy and slow.
- Inclement Weather: Snow, ice, and sleet can lead to slippery surfaces and dangerous road conditions. This week, news reports are predicting windy and rainy weather that could make driving even more hazardous
- Distracted Driving: Holiday road trips can be full of distractions causing drivers to take their attention away from the road.
- Congested Roads: With more cars on the road and an increase in risky driving behaviors over Thanksgiving, accidents are bound to occur.
Prepare for emergencies before you leave for your road trip this week. Pack your car with first aid equipment, extra food, water and clothes, hazards lights in the case of an accident, and tools that can help you prepare for winter weather to come. It’s also a good idea to check your tire pressure to reduce your risk of tire failures that could lead to life-threatening accidents.
Other tips for safe driving this holiday from the N.S.C. include:
- Get a good night’s sleep prior to your road trip.
- Leave early and plan for traffic.
- Check the weather.
- Use seatbelts to prevent injuries in the case of an accident.
- Limit distractions, particularly electronics, behind the wheel.
- Drive defensively, not aggressively.
- Never drive under the influence.
Food Poisoning Disasters
After spending weeks planning a Thanksgiving feast and hours whipping it up on the day, the last thing you want is to make your guests sick. Cases of food poisoning are extremely common over the holidays. Between large groups of diners, multiple cooks in the kitchen, and high demand for dinner to be on time, undercooked and contaminated dishes unintentionally make it to the table.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), these are the foodborne illnesses to watch for with each dish and how to prevent them:
Meat (chicken, beef, pork, turkey):
- Campylobacter, Salmonella, Clostrifum perfringens, E. coli, Yersinia
- How To Prevent: Do not wash meat. This could spread bacteria. Cook all meats according to the safe internal temperature guide. Use a cooking thermometer. Store all leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours to prevent contamination.
Fruits and Vegetables:
- Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria
- How To Prevent: Cook vegetables when possibly to kill bacteria. Always wash produce before eating or cooking. Keep away from raw meats when preparing.
Egg and Egg Recipes:
- How To Prevent: Use pasteurized egg products for recipes that call for raw or undercooked eggs. Cook eggs until yolks and whites are firm. Cook foods that include eggs thoroughly. Keep eggs refrigerated. Do not eat batter or dough with raw eggs.
Seafood and Raw Shellfish:
- Norovirus, Vibriosis
- How To Prevent: Stay away from consuming raw fish such as oysters and other filter-feeding shellfish. Cook fish and heat leftover seafood to recommended temperatures.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has become one of the most popular drinking nights of the year. Also known as Drinksgiving to younger generations, bars, and restaurants who serve alcohol across the country often see lines out the door.
With a rush of college students heading home for the holiday break and thousands of others traveling back to see family and friends, the number of drunk drivers on the road drastically increases. Be smart about drinking this week and don’t add to the dangers on the road that can lead to devastating road fatalities. Some critical safety precautions to keep in mind include:
- Drive sober or not at all.
- Don’t let friends and family drive drunk.
- Commit to sober driving by using public transportation, taxis, and ride-hailing services.
- Don’t get out of control to avoid making unsafe decisions throughout the night.
Don’t forget about the furry friends who will be scrounging for table scraps this Thanksgiving. Ingesting bones and other types of table food toxic to animals can lead to deadly consequences for your pet. Keep your pets safe this Turkey Day with these recommendations from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:
- Only feed your dog well-cooked turkey, nothing raw or undercooked.
- Avoid giving bones to your dog to reduce their risk of choking.
- Do not give your pets dough or baked goods.
- Prepare a separate feast specially for your pet so they feel included without having to beg…as much.
Our team at Jacobs & Wallace wishes everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! Whatever your plans are this week, plan ahead, stay alert, and have a wonderful holiday.
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