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The Thanksgiving holiday is nearly upon us and in addition to turkey and stuffing, it generally means a few other things.  There will be an increase in travel and an increase in house fires.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Thanksgiving Day is “the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year.” 

As for travel, the crowded airports get all the media coverage but driving is still statistically the most used mode of transportation during the Thanksgiving week.  In 2015, there was an estimated 47 million people traveling 50 miles or more.  Statistically, the average thanksgiving long-distance trip is 214 miles. 

A couple of things to consider when digesting this information:

1) Automobile accidents are still one of the leading causes of death in America.

2) Traffic accidents rise on or around Thanksgiving.

3) “Blackout Wednesday” is the unofficial name for the night before Thanksgiving and is subsequently one of the biggest drinking days of the year (larger than St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve in some cities), which translates into a higher number of drunk driving accidents.

4) When you travel for the holidays, your home is left unattended (duh) and is a potential target for burglars.

 

We wanted to take this opportunity to provide some holiday safety and travel tips for anyone who might be hitting the road this Thanksgiving.

 

Safe Travel

Before setting off on any holiday adventures, make sure your home is protected from incident while you’re away.  Travelers has a nice checklist for you to consider before hitting the road.  Included in the list are things like: make sure all electrical appliances are turned off, lock all windows and doors, set the heating system appropriately, throw out perishable foods, and so on.  You can also check out travelinsurancereview.net and Property Casualty Insurers Association of America for more tips to avoid insurance claims during holiday travel.

 

If you’re taking to the skies, tripinsurance.com has some Thanksgiving travel tips especially for you.  The Red Cross offers advice for folks traveling via public transportation or by their own vehicle.  For those hitting the open road, make sure your vehicle is working properly, the gas tank is filled, and exercise the necessary caution when behind the wheel of a vehicle.  A New York Times article from yesterday, November 15, 2016 reported the biggest spike in traffic deaths in 50 years, citing the increased use of apps and distracted driving.  According to the article, “After steady declines over the last four decades, highway fatalities last year recorded the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years.  And the numbers so far this year are even worse.  In the first six months of 2016, highway deaths jumped 10.4 percent, to 17,775, from the comparable period of 2015 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”

 

While You’re Away

Maybe you’ve sworn off Facebook and other social media platforms after the election, or maybe you just aren’t interested in baby photos and cat videos.  If this is you, good timing.  If this isn’t you, we’d encourage you to think twice before posting that you’re leaving town for the holidays.  Tracking the status updates of a would-be burglary victim is an all-to-easy way for criminals to get the drop on whether or not your home is empty. 

 

In addition to not telling the world that your house will be unoccupied for a few days, consider setting timers for the lights in your house to give it the appearance of being lived in while you’re away.  Also, if any of your trusted neighbors are planning to stay in town, ask if they can check in on your home while you’re away.

 

Don’t Burn the Turkey

As stated above, Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for house fires and while this is a primary concern, there are other potential risks that require your consideration.  If you host a party and serve alcohol, you could be held liable for injuries in any resulting accidents. 

 

Feel like taking the holiday off from cooking and hiring a caterer?  That’s cool, but realize that the host can still be held liable for food poisoning even if they didn’t prepare the food.  Make sure you have the necessary coverage if you plan to host Thanksgiving this year.  If you need more coverage, an umbrella policy may be a good way fill in any gaps.

 

As for safety in the kitchen, here is the NFPA’s website on Thanksgiving safety.  Tips include staying in the kitchen when cooking the food, keeping children away from the stove, keep the floor clear of tripping hazards, keep matches and utility lighters out of reach of children and make sure your smoke alarm is working just to name a few. 

 

Thanksgiving is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year and it’s easy to see why.  Great food combined with family and friends is a recipe for a wonderful time.  CLH Insurance would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.  If you find you might be in need of some additional protection or just have questions about anything surrounding the upcoming holidays, we’re more than happy to speak with you.  Shoot any inquiries to questions@clhins.com or call 636.391.0700 to speak with an agent.

 

 

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