Tips for driving safely in an unfamiliar area over the holidays

Many of us will be driving to unfamiliar destinations this holiday season. Whether you're going to a party in a part of the city you haven't been to before or you're taking an out-of-state road trip, being in an area you don't know can hamper your ability to drive safely.

That's why it's wise to do a little preparation and to enlist some assistance. That will help you keep your focus on your driving and what others around you are doing rather than trying to figure out where your exit ramp or next turn is.

What is 'Blackout Wednesday?'

If you're already dealing with the aftermath of a serious car accident, you may still be somewhat anxious when you get behind the wheel. The upcoming holiday season may be particularly nerve-wracking because you know that there are more drunk drivers on the road than ever. Too many people get behind the wheel after they've been drinking at holiday parties and family gatherings.

However, did you know that in many areas, the biggest drinking day of the year is the day before Thanksgiving? It's even been given the name "Blackout Wednesday."

Holiday gatherings can lead to dog bites

If you're spending Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holidays this season at relatives' or friends' houses, it's important to be careful around their dogs. Even if the pet knows you well, a large holiday gathering can cause them to behave in ways they normally wouldn't -- like biting.

If you have kids, you need to make sure they don't agitate the dog. After all, you're in their home and territory. When a lot of people they don't know are visiting and kids are running around, dogs can get frightened or overwhelmed. This can cause them to lash out.

Taking action after house party negligence

When you allow your underage child to attend a house party, likely, you do so with the assurance that responsible adults will be present. You may even speak with the parents who will be in attendance at the house party to confirm this. When any person attends a party at a private premises, it is the social host who will be held legally liable should something go wrong.

Parents who are indirectly hosting a house party through their child have the legal responsibility to ensure that all those in attendance are reasonably safe. They should also ensure that no alcohol is served to those who are underage. If your child suffered damages as a result of being served alcohol at a party, or if they become involved in a car accident due to underage alcohol consumption at a house party, you may be able to take legal action to claim damages from the social hosts. The following are some key points you should be aware of before taking action.

Mother, daughter say state trooper was drunk when he hit them

Sometimes, victims of car crashes can hold others liable in civil court besides the at-fault driver. A Connecticut mother and daughter are suing a Connecticut State Police (CSP) trooper as well as the state itself and the owners of a brewery for a crash in Southbury that injured them.

Police say the CSP sergeant ran a stop sign on Sept. 25 after leaving a colleague's retirement party at Oxford's Black Hog Brewing. After he T-boned the women's car, both vehicles went off the road.

Social host liability and holiday parties

For many people, holiday party season begins with Halloween and continues through New Year's. Many companies have onsite parties after hours. Others choose local bars, restaurants and event venues for their festivities -- particularly their big holiday/year-end parties.

A lot of business owners no longer serve alcohol at their office parties and limit the amount of alcohol they'll pay for at other locations. As the dangers of drunk driving have become more widely discussed, they're concerned for the safety of their employees and others on the road. Concerns about potential liability no doubt are a factor as well.

Why seniors shouldn't hesitate to consider a slip-and-fall case

Senior citizens are typically more likely to suffer slip-and-fall accidents than younger people. As we age, our balance and mobility often decline. The rate and amount of decline vary considerably from one person to the next. People's eyesight deteriorates, making it harder to notice things like an uneven carpet, a patch of ice or a small step.

When an older person falls, they're more likely to suffer a serious injury like a fracture. These injuries can take considerable time to heal. An older person may never be the same after a serious fall-related injury. Among the many frightening statistics related to falls among older people is this: A quarter of seniors who break a hip due to a fall die within six months.

Understanding school bus safety

School buses should be a safe method of transportation for Connecticut students. When drivers and students respect the rules and commit to proper behavior, the bus can be one of the safest ways for children to get to school.

The rules surrounding school bus transport are important, but many drivers disregard them. This is why the National Association for Pupil Transportation sponsors National School Bus Safety Week each October. The National Safety Council informs the public that this year, this important awareness event will be held during the week of October 21 through 25.

You can take steps to avoid a dog bite on Halloween

If you or your child is dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite, you may be thinking twice about going trick-or-treating this Halloween. Even normally calm, well-behaved dogs can get excited by small people coming to the door in flowing costumes to collect candy and they may behave in ways they normally wouldn't.

Unfortunately, not all dog owners are vigilant about keeping their dogs secured safely away from the door on Halloween. However, you can still take steps to minimize the chances of being bitten.

Thanksgiving driving safety tips

Every year, millions of Americans take to the road over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It doesn't matter if you're traveling to the other side of town or the other side of the country, your safety and well-being are top priority.

With so many vehicles on the road, driving safely over the Thanksgiving holiday is easier said than done. Fortunately, a bit of planning and knowledge can go a long way in keeping you and your family safe.

  • Prepare your vehicle: A lack of maintenance can result in an accident or breakdown. Prepare your vehicle by testing your battery, changing fluids, checking tire pressure and inspecting tire tread depth. If you don't know how to do these things, schedule an appointment with your local mechanic.
  • Get some rest: Make sure you get enough sleep before you get behind the wheel. This is particularly important if you're embarking on a long road trip. Drowsy driving is responsible for many accidents, injuries and deaths every year.
  • Travel during off-peak days and hours: For example, you can expect the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to be one of the busiest times on the road. If possible, avoid this travel day. Not only does it enhance your safety, but it will also help you reach your destination in a timelier manner.
  • Plan your route: There's probably more than one way to reach your destination. Plan your route in advance with an eye toward your safety, avoiding traffic and saving time.
  • Share the road: Even if you're traveling on an off-peak day during an off-peak hour, you're sure to find yourself driving in close proximity to all types of vehicles. Sharing the road means taking care when merging, using turn signals when changing lanes, leaving a greater following distance and generally being courteous to other drivers.
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