Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer this weekend and millions of American’s are already gearing up to celebrate. Between backyard festivities and cross-country camping trips, there are hundreds of ways to observe the holiday and remember the many heroes our nation has lost. Unfortunately, celebrations can easily get out of control and Memorial Day has now become known for more than just honoring our veterans and ringing in the summer season.
Memorial Day Can Be Deadly!
Memorial Day has consistently made the list of deadliest driving holidays for years. Historically, the Monday following Memorial Day weekend has 32 percent more vehicle fatalities than the three days prior. But driving is not the only hazard New Yorkers need to be aware of this Memorial Day. Summer activities such a swimming, boating, and BBQ’s can also be extremely dangerous and possibly deadly if gone about carelessly. Before you celebrate this weekend, make sure to keep these common holiday dangers in mind to help you plan for a safe and enjoyable holiday.
Swim Safe or Don’t Swim
Drowning is the third leading cause of death worldwide according to the World Health Organization. Before jumping in the water this summer, make sure you take the necessary precautions to stay safe. The American Red Cross suggests several safety measures you can take depending on the type of water you are swimming in to help prevent devastating swimming accidents this weekend:
If you’re swimming in a pool or lake…
- Only swim in designated areas.
- Don’t swim in deep waters without a life jacket.
- Supervise children at all times around the edge.
- Avoid falls by not permitting running around the pool.
- Barricade the pool so children cannot access it without an adult.
- Only swim at night in areas with appropriate lighting.
If you’re swimming in the ocean…
- Keep a close eye on older children and never supervise smaller children from afar.
- Make sure inexperienced swimmers are wearing lifejackets.
- Watch for strong surfs and rip currents.
- Watch out for aquatic life that might be dangerous.
In addition, never dive headfirst into any body of water and always keep emergency flotation devices and first aid kits handy. If you can’t swim, please learn before taking a chance in the water.
Reckless Boating Can Be Fatal
Boating is a blast, but not if you aren’t being careful. In a recreational boating report released by New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, there were a total of 208 boating accidents in 2016, resulting in 141 injuries and 22 deaths. Suffolk County ranked the highest in the state for boating fatalities with six deaths, while Nassau County following closely behind with two deaths. The causes of these fatal incidents included:
- Capsizing (6 deaths)
- Victims ejected from vessels (5 deaths)
- Falling overboard (3 deaths)
- Colliding with other vessels (2 deaths)
- Flooding/swamping (2 deaths)
- Grounding (2 deaths)
- Skier mishaps (1 death)
- Unknown causes (1 death)
To protect yourself and others on the water when boating, make sure you are certified in New York State to operate your vessel safely. Never drink while driving and keep speeds low especially in busy areas. Most importantly, whenever you set foot on a boat, always wear a lifejacket. No matter how well you swim, accidents on the water happen quickly.
Flaming Backyard BBQ Mishaps
Nothing says Memorial Day like hot-dogs and hamburgers off the grill, but barbecues can be extremely dangerous when used incorrectly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly 9,600 house fires were caused by grills, hibachis or barbecues between 2011 to 2016, resulting in around 16,600 injuries. Unattended food on the grill, gas leaks and the use of lighter fluids are just a few of the reckless practices people use when cooking up a holiday feast. For safe grilling methods, the NFPA provides an excellent safety video on how to prevent fires at your holiday BBQ.
Risky Drinking Takes Lives
Adults and teens are far more likely to drink during the summer months than most other times of the year. For every day in June and July, 11,000 minors will try their first taste of alcohol! Drinking increases the chances of severe and fatal accidents in a number of different situations, including operating a boat, driving a car, swimming, and other exerting summer activities. If you’re planning to drink this summer, stay home or arrange a designated driver/sober ride before you head out for the day. Dehydration is also common when drinking in the heat so consuming non-alcoholic beverages between cocktails is always a good idea.
Driving Dangers Are Real
Last but not least, the influx of driving fatalities and injuries on Memorial Day cannot be ignored. AAA averages about 312 people die across the United States on Memorial Day alone. Avoiding accidents can be difficult with congestion on every highway, but keeping in mind these safety tips could save you from an unnecessary visit to the hospital:
- Avoid distracting music and conversation.
- Use defensive driving methods, not aggressive.
- Don’t text/talk and drive.
- Watch for construction on the road.
- Leave plenty of room between cars.
- Pack an emergency kit with supplies.
- Never drink or use substances before driving.
Seek Justice For Memorial Day Accidents
It’s impossible to prevent Memorial Day accidents when they are caused be the negligence of others. If you or a loved one have been injured in an unnecessary accident due to someone else’s reckless behaviors this holiday, our family at Siler & Ingber are here to help. Our expert personal injury lawyers will fight to seek justice for the damages you have suffered from your accident, beginning with a free consultation to discuss your case. Contact our winning legal team at Siler & Ingber on 1-877-529-4343 for a FREE case evaluation.