The temperatures are rising and the days are getting longer. Summer has finally started to arrive here in the northern Illinois area! This season is a great time to get outside and enjoy time with loved ones. For many of us, summer temperatures give us more time to be out on the water. Before you log any more time on your boat this year, be sure you are brushing up on good practices that will keep you, and everyone on the water with you, safe.
Skip the Alcohol
Just like driving a car, choosing to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol is an unsafe and irresponsible decision. The Coast Guard reports that alcohol is responsible for at least 16% boating fatalities and for half of all boating accidents. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is a serious offense and applies to all vessels, including kayaks or canoes.
Why the big deal about drinking and boating when many people seem to think the two go hand in hand? Alcohol affects judgment, response time, and other abilities that are crucial to safely operating a boat. Skip the cocktail and choose to boat safely.
Brush Up on Rules of the Water
When you hit the river or lake, you aren’t the only one. Boaters share the water with swimmers, kayakers, and other vessels. It is important to brush up on general rules of the water to be sure you are not inadvertently putting yourself, or others, in danger. We like the BoatUS Foundation’s resources and encourage you to take a look as well.
Beware of Towing
Part of the fun of having a boat is the opportunity to tow a water skier or tuber. However, towing can be extremely dangerous if your driver is not experienced, or if your driver participates in risky behaviors. At MacCloskey, Kesler & Associates, we have taken on tragic cases that involved unsafe towing and unfortunately know the very real consequences of towing more than one tube at a time.
Spending time on your boat, or on friend’s boat, is a hallmark summer experience. However, choose to enjoy the time together safely, and without alcohol.
If you do become involved with a boating accident that results in injury, don’t delay in contacting our team. We have years of experience working with victims of boating accidents and are ready to help you during this difficult time.
Like it or not, winter is here in northern Illinois. Winter means snow, and while it can be magical watching the snow fall while you’re cozy inside, it is quite another story when driving in the midst of a snow or sleet storm. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17% of all car accidents happen in the winter months, thanks to treacherous road conditions caused by snow and ice.
If you are in a car accident, or if your vehicle breaks down during the winter months, it can feel especially stressful. Empower yourself and keep yourself safe by keeping a winter emergency kit tucked in your trunk. Here’s what to include.
Emergency Blankets If your car loses the ability to push out heat, you and your passengers will feel the chill quickly. Keep warm while waiting for help by pulling out emergency blankets from your car’s winter kit.
Cell Phone Charger Your cell phone is your key to getting the help you need, especially if you are in the middle of nowhere. Keep a charger handy in your emergency kit to assure you will not run out of battery when you desperately need it.
Flashlight and Batteries Daylight quickly fades in the winter months and trying to navigate your situation in the dark can be dangerous. Keep a flashlight and extra batteries in your emergency kit to combat the darkness.
Snacks While bottles of water will likely freeze in your trunk during the winter months, you should toss a few snacks into your emergency kit. Protein bars can be a welcome relief while stranded alone or with passengers.
First Aid Kit If you or your passengers are injured in an accident, a first aid kit can give you the tools you need to remedy minor problems while waiting for medical assistance.
Phone Numbers and Notebook In case your cell phone is damaged or unusable, keep a list of emergency contacts in your kit. Include your physician and family members, as well as your personal injury lawyer. You can also use the notebook to record license plates, insurance information, or other accident details about the other parties involved. This information can be valuable as you seek to receive compensation for your ordeal.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, winter months are especially dangerous times for house fires. Before our northern Illinois winter weather fully sets in for the next four months, take time to assure that you, your family, and your home are safe from potential fire hazards.
Check Your Fire Alarms Fire alarms and smoke detectors are a crucial component of your family’s fire safety plan. However, without working batteries, you are missing the chance to detect a fire in enough time to safely get out. Ideally, you should check your fire alarm at least twice per year. Most Americans choose to do the checks during each time change. It’s not too late to check your detectors – do a quick test and swap out the batteries to assure your detectors are ready to work, if they need to.
Beware of Open Flames The winter holidays and chilly weather can leave many of us lighting candles to feel cozy and calm. However burning, too many candles at once can create a serious fire hazard. Be sure everyone in your family knows to blow out candles when leaving the house, even if it is just for a short amount of time. Further, keep your candle wicks trimmed and your candles far from curtains, fabrics, or other flammable materials.
Be Careful With Your Twinkle Lights Christmas trees can catch fire frighteningly fast. Your strands of twinkle lights, whether on the tree or elsewhere, can be the culprit for igniting your tree and your home. When putting up your lights, assure that strands are not damaged and that wires are not exposed. Opt for LED lights when possible, as they do not get as hot as other options.
Ditch the Space Heater Space heaters may help your home feel warmer, but these devices can quickly become deadly. If you must use a space heater, keep it shut off when unattended and keep all fabrics far away.
Finally, use the winter season as a reminder to talk with your famiy about safe fire evacuation plans. You can work together to designate a meeting spot outside of your home, and remind one another about how to safely evacuate the home in case of fire.