New Year’s is a loud, exciting, and unfortunately dangerous holiday. Considering the wild celebrations that go on, this shouldn’t be too surprising. But, if you know what to avoid, you can enjoy the party without taking undue risks.
In some places, firing guns into the air is something of a New Year’s tradition. If you have blank rounds, this is a relatively safe way to make noise, but live ammunition is a different story. If you shoot a bullet into the air, it must eventually come back down. When it returns to earth, it will not be moving nearly as quickly as when it came out of the gun, but it will still be moving fast enough to hurt someone. These falling bullets can and do cause injuries and, occasionally, even deaths So if you need to greet the new year with your firearm, only shoot blanks into the air.
If you live in a place where firing into the sky is a cherished tradition, stay inside around midnight. A roof will keep you safe from falling lead.
New Year’s Day is not the most dangerous day to drive, but it is in the top ten. Many more people die driving on New Year’s Day than most days of the year. Considering all the hazards for drivers on New Year’s, this isn’t surprising. Alcohol consumption is high, and not all of the drinkers are responsible enough to stay off the road. In some regions, weather can also be treacherous. Roads are slick with ice or snow. Visibility is limited by fog or snowfall. Drive as little as possible during New Year’s and be extra careful whenever you are on the road.
Studies suggest that New Year’s Day is the most dangerous day for pedestrians each year. More pedestrian fatalities occur on this day than on any other day of the year. As is the case with traffic fatalities, this is due in part to increased drunk driving. Even if you haven’t been drinking and are not driving, you can still be in danger come New Year’s. Avoid walking near high traffic roads. If you can avoid walking at all. It’s best to stay at the party
If you want to enter the New Year with a bang, fireworks are a better idea than firearms. Still, if you aren’t careful, you could join the ranks of the 9,300 Americans injured by fireworks each year. To avoid this fate, use fireworks responsibly. Only set off fireworks on level ground, free of vegetation and other flammable materials. Always have water available to douse any fires that may start. A big bucket of water is the minimum. Do not hold fireworks while setting them off, unless they have been explicitly designed as hand held fireworks, like sparklers. Nothing ruins the festivities like severe burns.
Photo copyright to Anthony Quintano via Flickr under Creative Commons License.
Photo copyright to Klearchos Kapoutsis via Flickr under Creative Commons License.