Autumn months in Bath have got to be one of our favourite times of the year. There really is nothing better than a crisp stroll along the Bath Skyline Walk to admire the views.
With so many events coming up, from firework displays and Halloween festivities through to the highly anticipated Bath Christmas Market, there is certainly plenty to keep all ages amused.
However, alongside all of the excitement and anticipation of things to come, autumn does come with it’s fair share of risks.
Here’s a few ways you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe over the coming months.
Behind the Wheel
You may think that driving in the winter months requires much more concentration and awareness of the potential risks, particularly from rain, fog and snow. Surprisingly however, the summer and spring are actually more dangerous than you think.
According to sources at LegalHelpline.co.uk, the chances of experiencing a car accident in the spring and summer months is around 15% higher than during the autumn.
There’s likely to be many reasons for this, but one that is particularly common is that low, blinding sun which seems to appear during the busy morning and evening drive home.
It’s also worth giving your car a quick once-over in the autumn, as whilst many will do so once the winter weather hits, it is often overlooked in the months leading up. As previously mentioned, the glare of the sun will affect your visibility more between September and November and dirty windscreens will make this even worse, so make sure your washers and fluids are checked and cleaned regularly, since you’ll probably be using them more frequently.
If you don’t tend to wear sunglasses regularly when driving, be aware that your visibility may not be as sharp when wearing them occasionally, meaning potential hazards and risks may be missed.
Other Road Users
With the increasing popularity of cycling as method for commuting to and from work, as well as for general leisure and exercise, the number of cyclists on the road is rising. Figures suggest that the most common time for cycling accidents to occur is after 3pm and before 6pm, possibly due to the effects of dusk on lighting and visibility.
Wildlife is another key consideration, with over 750,000 accidents related to wildlife being recorded annually. Unfortunately, these creatures do not possess knowledge of the Highway Code and can behave spontaneously, erratically and dangerously.
Remember that despite the roadside antics of the local wildlife population, the safety of yourself, your passengers and other road users should always be your priority.
From large public displays such as the Fantastic Fireworks Display at Longleat to smaller events like Bonfire Night at the Hare & Hounds, to family celebrations in your back garden, there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of the coming firework season.
Whilst many are naturally aware of the risks posed by fireworks and basic safety measures, an alarming number of accidents still happen around this time of year, with most being completely preventable.
Perhaps the biggest rule of all is that no matter where you are, you should never go near an already lit firework, even when it may seem like it isn’t going to take off.
Fireworks aren’t built with safety devices and so can literally go off any anytime, anywhere, even with someone bent right over them. Whilst it can be tempting to nip in a grab a cigarette lighter to get the trusty Catherine Wheel started, it’s always advisable to use the approved devices as these were designed to keep you a safe distance from the firework, should it become faulty or explode.
For those who may be tempted to light a firework with their own lit cigarette, be aware that fireworks can contain some dangerous chemicals which should not be ingested. It is never advisable to continue smoking a cigarette once it has been in contact with a firework for this very reason.
Sparklers are the perfect way to enjoy the celebrations and get even the smallest children involved, yet these are also risky business if you don’t remain vigilant at all times. Children can easily suffer burns from touching the end of a sparkler after it has gone out, so be sure to have a bucket of water ready and dispose of the sparkler immediately after use by placing them head first into the bucket.
It is also recommended making sure children wear gloves to protect their hands, as well as a hat to shelter them from any firework debris that may fall from the sky.
For very young children, it is also advisable to invest in some good quality ear protectors, particularly if you are planning to head out to some of the larger public displays, where the fireworks can be extremely loud!
As the weather changes, we all expect roads and pathways to become a little more slippery and wet, but one risk which is often overlooked is hidden objects caused by falling leaves. As the trees shed their leaves, the ground becomes covered with a beautiful shade of russet, but beneath this there could be upturned roots, uneven pavement slabs or potholes.
Take extra, care when walking or running during this time and be sure to remind children to approach large bundles of leaves cautiously. If your children are keen to make ‘leaf angels’ in the piles of leaves over the park, just take a moment to quickly check the area for hazards, before they leap into it head first!
The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
Finally, as the colder weather draws in, many will be switching on their heating for the first time in months, lighting fires or turning on their portable heaters. Instances of carbon monoxide poisoning can happen at this time of year when a poorly fitted appliance or a blocked vent or chimney prevents the toxic gas from escaping.
A buildup of carbon monoxide can be deadly, as you cannot smell it, taste it, or see it. If you are planning to burn materials such as wood, coal, oil or gas, be sure to get your appliances checked, your chimneys and vents cleaned and invest in a good quality carbon monoxide detector.
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