Autumn Safety for Yorkshire Residents
Yorkshire is the type of county that is good at any time of year, however autumn is definitely our favourite. With many beautiful attractions such as Greenhead Park in Huddersfield, Pugneys Country Park in Wakefield and East Park in Hull, there is plenty to see and do at any time of the day or night. Especially with Halloween activities, local firework displays, the York Food and Drink Festival or the UK Pro Surf event in Scarborough.
You may be the type of person who loves nothing more than a wander around the woods, kicking the leaves and collecting fir cones, or staying by the fire watching the latest episode of The X Factor or ‘Strictly’, but whatever you decide to do you will want to do it safely. These top tips will keep you safe until Christmas!
Driving safely in autumn
Recent research by LegalHelpline.co.uk revealed that you are 15% more likely to be involved in a car accident in autumn rather than in spring or summer? Although there are many factors for this increase the main reasons are due to the shorter days. Many of us will be driving to and from work in the rush hour with the sun blazing into our eyes, making it difficult to see the road ahead.
Most drivers carry out winter health checks but it is also incredibly important to conduct autumn health checks too. Start by ensuring your windscreen is completely clean. And we do not just mean a cursory clean with the windscreen washers. When the sun is rising or setting the glare highlights all the dust and dirt on the windscreen. This coupled with the fact many drivers put their sunglasses away when summer is over means spotting hazards can be difficult. Always stay alert of your surroundings and remember that if the sun is in your eyes it will probably be in the eyes of the drivers around you. Therefore always maintain a safe distance from the car in front.
You should also keep a safe distance from cyclists. Over 18,000 cycling accidents were reported to the police in 2016 with the majority of accidents occurring between 3pm and 6pm.
Another factor is wildlife. Deer are one of the highest causes of road traffic accidents with 750,000 accidents being reported each year. These majestic creatures have not been taught the green cross code and you can often see them wandering around near the road side around dawn and dusk. Be especially aware in areas such as the Peak District, North York Moors and even near Spurn Point.
Bonfires and fireworks
Whether you are heading off to an organised public fireworks display this Guy Fawkes’ Night or choosing to attend or host a private display in your back garden, Bonfire Night is definitely a night where you should prepare a safety strategy.
Obviously the safety rules differ if you are at home or at a public display – such as the Bolton Abbey Bonfire or After Dark 2018 at Don Valley Bowl – but there are many that apply to both.
If you are at a private event the biggest safety rule is to never return to a lit firework, even if the firework has not appeared to go off. Fireworks can go off at any time once lit and cause considerable injuries. The best way to light your fireworks is with either a windproof or ‘turbo’ lighter, a taper or preferably a portfire. These will enable you to light your firework safely with a large flame that can last for 3-4 minutes. It is imperative that you do not use cigarettes, cigarette lighters or candles. Not only are these items to small to light a firework they will also require you to stand closer than you need. Also, you do not want to be putting a cigarette back in your mouth after it has lit a firework due to the various chemicals that fireworks contains. This in itself is a highly dangerous health risk.
You should also make sure you are wearing protective items such as gloves, goggles and a hat – preferably a hard hat but a sturdy baseball cap will suffice. These should protect you from any falling embers or debris.
Most children like to hold sparklers with adults thinking this is a safe way to entertain the children. However these too can hold safety concerns. Always make sure the child is wearing gloves before handling a sparkler and keeps them away from their faces. Never hold a child or a baby when holding a sparkler and always put burnt out sparklers hot end down into a bucket of water straight away.
Slips, trips and falls
For some people there is nothing more enjoyable than a Sunday morning walk through the woods. It is a good place to take the dog, to marvel at nature or to just take some time out from the stress of day-to-day life. However accidents can also occur on these walks. Thanks to the combination of the weather getting wetter and the leaves falling from the trees, it is easy to have a fall on your walk. By being attentive to your surroundings you can reduce these risks. The same applies to loose branches falling, dog owners not clearing up after their pets and hidden dips in the pathway.
Also known as ‘the silent killer’ due to the inability to see, hear, taste or smell it, carbon monoxide poisoning not only makes many people unwell but kills up to 25 people each year. This can happen when the burning of gas, wood, oil or coal has built up levels of carbon monoxide, usually due to being in an appliance that has been either badly fitted, incorrectly repaired or if the flues, vents or chimney is blocked. Always make sure your appliance is fitted correctly, your chimneys are swept regularly and that you have a working carbon monoxide alarm fitted.