When did you last see a cross or bouquet adorning the side of the road? Now, when did you last think – really contemplate – what that meant?
For millions of grieving families, those roadside memorials represent a loved one lost to drunk driving. Loved ones who swore they were “fine to drive.” Innocents who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Children who lost their lives to alcohol before they could even enjoy their first New Year’s champagne toast.
Every minute, every day, every year, drunk driving results in horrible tragedy. So this holiday season, we remind you to be safe. To drink responsibly. And to unite with MADD to Tie One On For Safety.
Tie One On For Safety
It’s the holiday season: the wine is flowing, the cocktails are mixed, the celebration is on. It’s family time, right? Yes, but according to statistics, it’s also a time when drunk-driving is at an all time high: the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are some of the most dangerous days to drive all year.
Since 1986, MADD has hosted Tie One On For Safety, a yearly campaign to remind us to drive safely. Snag a festive red ribbon and tie it on (or display a sticker in your car window), to show solidarity and your commitment to always drive safely this season.
Holiday Safety Tips
Of course, holiday safety is not restricted to safe driving. With all the travel, the hustle and bustle, the traditions and once-a-year festivities, things can easily slip your mind. Here are a few reminders to keep you and your loved ones safe:
- Designate a Driver: Since we’re on the subject, let’s start with this one – always, always designate a driver before festivities begin.
- Beware of Road Conditions: The holidays often entail lots and lots of driving, and road conditions this time of year are far from optimal. Check the local news for road conditions – is there a lot of black ice? any road closings? – and leave early, so you don’t feel pressured to drive quickly.
- Safety-check Your Decorations: Before plugging in your holiday lights or setting up lawn decorations, check cords for fraying. If they spark when you plug them in, they need to be replaced. If they get excessively hot, they need to be replaced. Don’t connect more than three strands of incandescent lights. Don’t leave lights on when you go to sleep or go out. And never overload outlets with lights and other decorations.
- Oh, Christmas Tree: If you purchase an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled as “fire resistant.” Live trees should be fresh (dry trees are fire hazards), and should be placed 3+ feet from any heat source.
- Employ Battery-powered Cheer: Today’s battery-operated candles are very realistic, simulating flickering flames and soft light. So feel free to swap out the real thing for the fireproof kind.
- Feast Safe: The holidays are a time of delicious eats, and for many of us that means lots of kitchen hours to be logged. Add to that, a constant stream of visiting family and friends to distract us, pulling us out of the kitchen to chat and laugh, and we have the recipe for kitchen fires. Hard rule: never leave food unattended on stove burners, and always be on the sniff-out for oven fires.
Stay safe this holiday season!