The holidays are a time for decorations, gifts and travel, especially for military members stationed far from home. They’re also a time when many of us gather around the TV to enjoy some of our favorite movies.
Because winter weather can be hazardous, the holidays are a reminder to be prepared at home and on the road. There are more than 200,000 snow-induced car crashes in the United States each year, according to the Federal Highway Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 1,200 annual cold weather-related deaths.
This year, while you’re watching your favorite holiday films, think about the important safety lessons you can learn from them:
An engine mishap caused Santa’s sleigh to crash-land in “Elf,” nearly ruining Christmas. Avoid that fate by inspecting your vehicle. Take time to check tire tread, air pressure and fluid levels, and make sure you have an ice scraper and an emergency kit with blankets, water and a battery-powered radio.
Lesson: Prepare and maintain your vehicle — whether car or sleigh — for winter weather.
With fog as thick as pea soup and peanut butter, even Santa — a pro in snow — was going to delay his trip because of the weather until Rudolph saved the day. Unless you have a flying reindeer of your own, don’t travel in potentially dangerous conditions. If you must drive, slow down and be cautious.
Lesson: Leave traveling in ice or snow to the professionals.
Nothing attracts thieves like a pile of holiday gifts visible through the window. But you don’t have to go to the extremes that 8-year-old Kevin did to protect your house. Keep presents out of sight, and don’t let your post-holiday recycling become a cornucopia of high-end electronics packages. Instead, discard a little at a time to avoid becoming a target.
Lesson: Protect your stuff from burglars without booby-trapping your home.
Holiday meals and decorations are a big part of most celebrations, but you don’t want to overload your electrical circuits like Clark Griswold. Don’t leave stoves, candles and other open flames unattended. Be sensible with twinkly lights, and remember to water your tree.
Lesson: Light up your holidays without burning down the house.
You may feel like Ralphie’s bundled-up brother, but wearing appropriate clothing outside is the easiest way to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. Take it easy with new activities like skiing and skating to avoid injuries. And never lick a frozen flagpole, even if someone triple-dog-dares you!
Lesson: Stay warm and be careful outdoors — even if you can’t put your arms down.
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