- Accidental injuries are the third-most common cause of death in the U.S.
- One in four adults 65+ are likely to fall in a given year
- Florida ranks as the second-worst state for distracted driving behaviors
A New Year means an opportunity for a new you, but that “new you” isn’t going to get very far if you aren’t taking active steps to prevent injuring yourself in a serious accident.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 161,374 deaths in the country were caused by “unintentional injuries” in the year 2015. This data makes “unintentional injuries” the third-highest cause of death in the U.S.
Our Miami personal injury lawyers take on many cases where a major injury or accidental death was caused by the negligence of another person. Remember that careless decisions getting distracted while like driving or neglecting to provide safety features for older adults on your properties could easily lead to a life-changing injury for someone else.
To reduce your risk of causing an injury to yourself or anyone else in 2019, take on the following 4 New Year’s safety resolutions below.
Don’t Drive Distracted
Distracted driving is a major source of car accidents in Florida. In fact, Florida ranks as the state with the second-highest rate of distracted drivers.
Just a second’s worth of distraction behind the wheel can mean the difference between avoiding an obstacle or maintaining control of your vehicle. It can take just 3 seconds after you allow yourself to get distracted for a crash to occur.
Major sources of distracted driving in Florida include:
- Cell phone use: Use a dash mount for your phone when navigating with the use of its GPS. Connect your phone to a Bluetooth device to operate it hands-free while driving. Never handle your phone while in a non-parked vehicle, even for just a moment.
- Eating, drinking, applying makeup, etc.: Using your hands for non-driving tasks limits your ability to manage complex driving maneuvers. It also diverts your attention. Never try to multitask while driving.
- Talking to passengers: Passengers are a major source of driving distraction, especially for young teen drivers. Try to limit the amount of attention you give to a conversation, and request silence during dangerous driving situations like highway driving.
- Losing mental focus: Getting lost in intense thought or daydreaming while driving is actually one of the most common sources of distracted driving accidents. When you lose mental engagement, your area of focus dwindles as does your reaction time.
Pledge to be a more-focused driver in the New Year, and at very least always keep your hands and eyes engaged with driving tasks rather than dangerous distractions.
Always Have a Plan for Getting Home Safe After Drinking
In Florida, 8,476 people died in accidents involving a drunk driver from the years 2003 – 2012. Tragically, the majority of these accidents tend to affect young individuals from the age of 21-34.
Driving under the influence is always avoidable. Assign a designated sober driver before you begin drinking. If you absolutely plan on driving, limit yourself to one drink per hour and a maximum of four drinks total. Even that amount may be too much, though, especially if you are driving at night when you may be tired and visibility will be lower.
Cab services and ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft are great alternatives to driving after drinking, but remember that these services can be put under high demand in a city like Miami. Always have a backup plan in case no ride-for-hire is available.
Take Steps to Prevent Home Falls, Especially for Older Adults
Older adults over the age of 64 are at a high risk of falling and getting hurt. The CDC reports that one in four individuals 65+ are likely to fall in a given year. Falls lead to 800,000 hospital visits annually, including 300,000 hip fractures. Making matters worse, those who happen to have a bad fall are twice as likely to fall again.
Knowing all this, make sure your home is safe if you have seniors living there or visiting frequently. Mounted guard rails on stairs, tubs, and near toilets are an absolute must. Remover clutter and obstacles like side tables from main entry or exit ways. Get rid of unsecured rugs that can become bunched up and turn into a fall hazard. Manufacturers now makes ones specifically designed to stay anchored or avoid flipping.
Ample light is also important so that visibility can be maintained. If you have a loved one who is over the age of 65, check on them frequently. Help them clean their home if you notice lots of clutter obstructing their pathways. Just a few minutes can mean the difference between avoiding a fall that leads to a lengthy hospital stay and debilitations.
For those of us over the age of 65, pledge to visit your doctor and speak with her or him about fall prevention. Particular areas of concern include foot pain, vitamin D deficiency, and overall weakness. You can develop a strength training regimen to improve your balance and muscular support capabilities. If Ruth Bader Ginsburg can do it, you can too!
Exercise Safety Measures When Performing Risky Tasks or Using Dangerous Tools
Certain tasks should give you pause before you perform them and make you think, “Am I doing this in a way where I won’t get hurt?”
One of the easiest examples to point to is kitchen knife safety. Around 1,190 people visit emergency departments for knife-related injuries each day in the U.S. The vast majority of these knife accidents are preventable if the right technique is used. Always cut away from the body on a stable surface like a cutting board.
Never attempt to cut an object being held in your hand. People removing avocado pits have led to an increasing rate of emergency room visits for major hand injuries, including severed tendons. Keep your knives sharp so that they have a lower risk of snagging or slipping.
Another common dangerous task in the home is climbing up to reach something. Always use an approved, sturdy device like a stepstool. Never use furniture or other stacked objects to reach a high-up place. Also, make sure you are aware of ladder safety practices when using a ladder for higher-up jobs.
Finally, any time you are performing a task with power tools or involving heights, consider waiting if no one is in the house but you. Serious injuries can be made far worse if someone becomes stranded and unable to call for immediate medical attention.
Work With Miami Personal Injury Lawyers if You Are Hurt Because of a Defective Product or Someone’s Neglect
Even following all of these best practices for safety in 2019, you may still find yourself seriously injured in what should have been an avoidable accident. Defective products are one of the biggest sources of such injuries, so try to stay current in regards to ongoing product recalls.
In many cases, our best efforts to not get hurt can be negated by the negligence of others. If you get hurt in 2019 in a car accident, on someone else’s property, or as the result of a dangerous product, exercise your right to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. Miami personal injury lawyers can help you attempt to recover medical costs as well as damages that include lost income, pain and suffering, or permanent disability.
Schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation today when you contact us online or use our toll-free number.