It’s the time of year again for barbecues, baseball, road trips, boat trips, home and garden projects and more. It’s also that time for summer safety tip blog posts (heh, heh).
But seriously, you know what they say: it’s all fun and games until somebody pokes out that proverbial eye. So here are some tips (and related facts) to keep in mind as you embark on your personal adventures and home improvement projects.
Make road trips safe
The U.S. interstate highway system is 60 years old this year! President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 on June 29.
Going on an interstate road trip? Expect to see lots of trucks on the road, because you will. According to TRIP, a nonprofit research group, the system is increasingly congested—with truck travel growing at twice the rate of regular interstate travel.
Keep in mind that trucks by nature brake more slowly than cars, and correct more slowly if they swerve. Stay out of trucks’ blind spots if at all possible, and avoid driving too close to them in general.
Another note: according to the Department of Transportation, falling asleep at the wheel is the most common cause of “non-performance error” crashes. So take a break when you’re tired and hydrate or have a light snack. Wherever you’re going will still be there fifteen minutes later (and you’ll be there in one piece).
The dangers of home and yard work
Home and yard work can be hazardous. Duh, right? But sometimes we need a reminder of the obvious.
In 2009, when the Consumer Products Safety Commission last gathered stats, falls from ladders and stools sent about 250,000 Americans to the emergency room. Lawn mower injuries—usually because of flying debris—and power tool injuries were each responsible for over 80,000 ER visits. Lastly, there were around 50,000 visits from chemicals and toxic fumes.
The point: be extra careful with ladders. Ask for help. Watch out for branches and rocks when you’re mowing, and make sure there’s plenty of ventilation when you’re doing painting or staining (and wear a mask).
Tips for heading off extreme heat
It’s hot out there. Not to be Captain Obvious again, but we mean: really hot.
April was the 12th consecutive warmest month on record globally, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Since then, NOAA reported that this May was also the warmest may on record, and heat waves (as well as flooding) have abounded in June as well.
Sure, it’s usually the elderly who get hit the hardest when heat spells come, but people of any age can overtax their bodies and suffer negative consequences. While there is no one definition of “extreme heat”, according to the Centers for Disease Control it can mean either very high temperatures or an oppressive combination of heat and humidity (when it’s humid, our sweat doesn’t dry as fast, so our bodies don’t release heat as quickly).
One major recommendation by the CDC in extreme heat: do not rely on fans to keep you cool. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, and get inside when it’s super-hot or humid, especially in the afternoon, to somewhere with air conditioning if you don’t have it at home (a mall, public library, etc.).
Another point they stress is, do not wait until you’re thirsty to drink—that might be too late. And remember that alcohol and very sugar-y beverages actually increase dehydration, and extremely cold beverages can cause stomach cramps.