a red car driving down a snowy California road with a large Christmas tree imagined off to the side with red banners going to the corner of the photo

Safety tips for Californians traveling for the holidays

profile photo
By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

For Californians who are traveling during the holidays this year, here are some detailed safety recommendations that may be helpful as you set out for your holiday commute:

  • Weather Preparedness: Check weather forecasts for your destination and along your route. Be prepared for winter conditions in mountainous areas.
  • Vehicle Readiness: Ensure your car is serviced, especially brakes, tires, and battery. Carry chains if you will be in snowy areas.
  • Emergency Kit: Pack blankets, water, non-perishable food, first-aid kit, flashlight, and extra clothing if you are going to be in wintery conditions.
  • Plan Your Route: Familiarize yourself with your travel route. Have a map or GPS in case of signal loss on your mobile devices.
  • Driving Safety: Adhere to speed limits, avoid distractions, and take regular breaks to prevent fatigue. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with travel advisories, road closures, and weather updates.
  • Accommodation Safety: Book accommodations in advance. Check for safety features like smoke detectors and emergency exits if you are staying at an AirBnB or hotels.

Always prioritize safety and preparation to ensure a secure and enjoyable holiday travel experience.

How many Californians are estimated to travel for Christmas Holiday this year?

This holiday season, a significant number of Californians, as part of the larger American population, are expected to travel. According to AAA, approximately 115.2 million people in the United States are projected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday period, which is a 2.2% increase over the previous year and the second highest year-end travel forecast since 2000. This period is estimated to be from Saturday, December 23, 2023, to Monday, January 1, 2024.

Here is a breakdown of these travel statistics. 7.5 million are expected to travel by air, surpassing the record set in 2019. Additionally, more than 4 million Americans are predicted to use alternative transportation modes, such as buses, trains, and cruises, marking an increase from previous years.

In terms of road travel, the period is expected to see significant congestion. INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, has indicated that days like Saturday, December 23, and Thursday, December 28, will be particularly congested. The best times for road travel are generally before lunchtime or after 7 pm to avoid peak congestion periods. For those traveling in California, cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are expected to experience high levels of traffic congestion, especially on certain routes during peak times.

While these numbers provide a national perspective, they also reflect the trends likely to be observed in California, given its population and status as a major travel hub. This data, however, does not specifically break down the number of Californians traveling, but given the state’s significant contribution to national statistics, it can be inferred that a considerable proportion of the travelers will be from California.

What are the main injuries that happen when traveling for the holidays?

During the holiday season, there are several common injuries that people may encounter while traveling or engaging in holiday activities. These injuries can range from minor to severe, and understanding them can help in taking preventive measures. Here are some of the main injuries that occur:

1. Slip and Fall Accidents: Slip and fall accidents are quite common during the holidays, especially due to icy sidewalks, wet floors in shopping malls, or while decorating. These accidents can lead to various injuries, including bruises, sprains, and in severe cases, fractures.

2. Car Accidents: The holiday season often sees an increase in traffic, leading to a higher risk of car accidents. Factors contributing to these accidents include impaired, distracted, and fatigued driving, as well as poor weather conditions like snow, sleet, and rain. It’s crucial to drive attentively and defensively, and never drink and drive..

3. Holiday Decorating-Related Falls: Decorating for the holidays can lead to falls, especially when using ladders. These falls can result in pulled muscles, concussions, or broken bones. It’s important to take safety precautions, such as not standing on unstable surfaces and paying attention to safety warnings on ladders.

4. Electrical Shock: Injuries from electrical shocks, particularly involving Christmas lights, are also a concern. These can range from minor shocks to serious injuries involving burns or cardiac arrest. Always inspect lights and cords for damage and avoid overloading sockets.

5. Back Injuries: Lifting heavy objects like luggage or large gifts can cause back injuries. These can include strains, sprains, and more severe injuries. To avoid such injuries, lift heavy items with your legs and keep them close to your body, and seek assistance if something is too heavy.

6. Lacerations from Opening Gifts: Injuries from opening gifts, often due to the use of sharp objects or improper techniques, can lead to cuts and lacerations. It’s recommended to use the appropriate tools and take care when opening packages to avoid such injuries.

In addition to these, there are other general safety tips to consider during the holidays:

  • Alcohol Consumption: Be mindful of alcohol intake as it can lead to accidents and impair judgment, especially when driving or engaging in activities like cooking or decorating
  • Kitchen Safety: The kitchen can be a hotspot for accidents, including cuts from knives and burns from hot stoves or ovens. Practice good food hygiene and be cautious when cooking, especially with complex methods like deep-frying a turkey.
  • Gift Safety: When choosing gifts, especially for children, consider age-appropriateness to avoid accidents like choking or injuries from toys like scooters,bikes,and skateboards. If you are to purchase these toys please keep in mind their unfamiliarity with them and provide protective gear.
  • Vehicle Maintenance: Before long car rides, ensure your vehicle is well-maintained and carry essentials like blankets and a fully-charged cell phone, especially in cold weather.

By being aware of these common holiday injuries and taking appropriate precautions, you can help ensure a safer and more enjoyable holiday experience.

What are the most common holiday related injuries in California?

During the holiday season, several common injuries and accidents occur in California, as in other parts of the United States. These incidents often lead to a noticeable increase in emergency department visits. Here are some of the most common holiday-related injuries and accidents, along with tips on how to avoid them:

1. Fall-Related Injuries During Holiday Decorating: Decorating for the holidays can lead to falls, particularly when using ladders. It’s important to check ladders for damage, work with someone else, and follow safety guidelines to prevent falls which can result in broken bones, concussions, or pulled muscles.

2. Toy-Related Injuries: Toys, especially non motorized scooters, can cause injuries. To prevent these, be cautious about buying untested or unsafe products, follow age guidance and safety information on toy packaging, and use protective gear and helmets for scooters and riding toys.

3. Fires Associated with Holiday Decorations: Increased cooking and baking, combined with candles and electrical decorations, raise the risk of fires and minor burns. To avoid such accidents, never leave the stove unattended, keep live Christmas trees watered, and choose fire-resistant artificial trees. Also, place candles away from flammable items and never leave them burning unattended.

4. Strained Back and Neck: The holidays involve a lot of bending and lifting, which can strain the back and neck. To prevent injury, lift heavy objects with your legs, avoid lifting above shoulder level, and avoid twisting your body while lifting.

5. Automobile Accidents: Increased travel during the holidays results in more road accidents. Drive defensively, use seat belts, avoid driving while fatigued or under the influence of alcohol, and arrange for a sober driver if necessary.

6. Cutting Injuries: Using scissors or knives for opening packages or wrapping gifts can lead to cuts if not used carefully. Always cut away from your body and assist children with difficult packages.

7. Foodand Alcohol-Related Issues: Food poisoning and allergic reactions can occur from improperly stored or unfamiliar foods, and alcohol poisoning rates also increase during the holidays. To prevent these, be cautious with food storage, eat fresh food at parties, drink responsibly, and pace your alcohol consumption.

In addition to these general risks, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also highlights specific hazards during the holiday season. They report that on average, about 160 Christmas decorating-related injuries occur each day during the holiday season, with over 40% involving falls. Cooking fires are another major concern, as they account for nearly half of all home fires, with Thanksgiving Day being particularly high-risk. Toy-related injuries are also significant, with non-motorized scooters being a leading cause of such injuries among children.

Remember, while these precautions can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, it’s always wise to have a plan for emergency situations. If a minor injury does occur, consult a primary care physician, and for more serious injuries, visit an emergency department immediately.

At J&Y Law Firm, we recommend seeking professional legal advice if you have been injured during the holidays due to someone else’s negligence. For further guidance or to discuss your specific case, contact J&Y Law Firm at (877) 426-6580, and our team of experienced attorneys will be happy to assist you.

author photo
About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.