We’re all familiar with New Year’s resolutions. It’s a new year, which means the opportunity for a new you. But that’s not always the purpose of a resolution. Sometimes, a resolution can be small, concrete steps that you can take to improve your world. It doesn’t always have to be a sweeping, world-altering shift in who you are and how you approach the world. In fact, sometimes small resolutions can make an even bigger difference. Huge resolutions are notorious for falling through. It doesn’t have to be that way.

In today’s blog, we want to propose to you some small resolutions that you can make so that you can have a safer 2020. In fact, it’s not just about making a safer 2020. It’s about making a safer decade and a safer life. As personal injury attorneys in Fort Collins, we know how dangerous life can get. There are some simple steps you can take to decrease the odds of preventable accidents. After all, that’s why they’re called “preventable.” If you or a loved one has already experienced a personal injury, then be sure to reach out to our team of expert personal injury attorneys in Fort Collins. We proudly serve communities throughout Northern Colorado. On that note, let’s take a look at some resolutions you can make to have a safer 2020. 

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1. Avoid Distracted Driving

We’ve written about distracted driving in a previous blog post. It’s never been more relevant than it is today. With the absolute ubiquity of electronic devices, distracted driving is a serious danger in today’s day and age. Unfortunately, some degree of distracted driving is often inevitable. From screaming children in the back seat to changes on the radio station, all of these things can pull our attention from where it needs to be: on the road.

But there are also more egregious and straightforward dangerous forms of distracted driving. Texting while driving is one of the most notable examples. Taking your eyes off the road for as few as three seconds is enough time for a crash to occur. That’s all it takes.

With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to ensure that you’re not a distracted driver:

  • Use a cell phone mount — Having your phone mounted can help with GPS and keeping your eyes directed toward the road. It allows you to keep both hands on the wheel.
  • Enable Bluetooth — Most newer vehicles have built-in Bluetooth capability, but you can also purchase add-ons to make older vehicles Bluetooth capable. This allows you to never take your eyes off the road, even if you have to talk on the phone.
  • Avoid eating, drinking, applying makeup, etc. — These can be extremely dangerous practices while driving. They require you to take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road.
  • Limit your attention to passengers — Passengers are a serious distraction, especially for younger drivers. To whatever extent you can, try not to split your attention from the road to the people riding in your vehicle.
  • Stay focused — There are so many reasons why your focus might be wavering while driving. Driving while tired is a classic example. If it’s possible, avoid getting behind the wheel if you’re fatigued, tired, or on medications that might cause drowsiness. Stay sharp.

2. Always Have a Plan

This is an important piece of advice all throughout the year, but it’s especially relevant during the holidays. There are plenty of opportunities to celebrate, which often means drinking alcohol. It’s absolutely imperative that you have a plan for getting home if you’re going to be drinking any alcohol. Knowing ahead of time what your plans are for getting home can go a long way in preventing a reckless decision once the alcohol has started to affect your inhibitions.

You can plan ahead in a variety of ways. You can celebrate at a location that’s walking distance from your home. You can make sure you have a trustworthy designated driver joining you for the festivities. You can call a taxi service or a ride-share service like Uber or Lyft. Fort Collins also has a variety of public transportation options that can ensure that you’re getting home safely. As personal injury attorneys, far too many of our clients have suffered at the hands of drivers who were under the influence. A seemingly small decision can completely alter the course of your life and the lives of people around you. Plan ahead.

Safety First Fast Facts Plan by Hadfield Stieben & Doutt

3. Exercise Safety Measures for Risky Tasks

We know how much Coloradans love their crafty and exciting tasks. From gardening to cooking to hiking to renovating a home, Colorado has no shortage of tasks and hobbies that are fun — but also risky. Tasks and hobbies like these are an essential part of the Colorado lifestyle, but it’s important to take a few small steps to ensure that they’re done in such a way that mitigates the odds of serious injury or death. 

One small example is knife safety. It might come as a surprise, but more than 1,000 people visit emergency departments for knife-related injuries each day in the U.S. The vast majority of these knife accidents are preventable if the right technique is used. For instance, it’s important to always cut away from the body on a stable surface like a cutting board. Another example includes the proper avocado technique. There’s actually been a rise of knife-related injuries correlated with the rise in the popularity of avocados. Taking the pit out of an avocado leads to an unfortunate amount of severed tendons. Always keep your knives sharp and in good shape, as this greatly reduces the risk of slippage and injury.

But it’s not just cooking, of course. Doing things around the house poses certain risks. Knowing appropriate ladder safety can help prevent terrible accidents while cleaning out gutters or trimming trees. You will also want to take proper precautions when working with dangerous power tools. Whether you’re climbing on a ladder or wielding a chainsaw, make sure that there are people home with you. Serious injuries can be made far worse if someone becomes stranded and unable to call for immediate medical attention.

Finally, take precautions when shoveling your drive and walkways.  Keep them free and clear of snow and ice so that others are not injured on your property.  Always be cautious when walking in snow or on ice that has accumulated on the property of others.

4. Prevent Home Falls

Home falls are surprisingly dangerous. They too often result in visits to hospitals and personal injury attorneys. This is especially true for elderly folks. Older adults over the age of 64 are at a high risk of falling and getting hurt. The CDC reports that one in four individuals 65+ are likely to fall in a given year. Falls lead to 800,000 hospital visits annually, including 300,000 hip fractures. Making matters worse, those who happen to have a bad fall are twice as likely to fall again.

With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to prevent home falls, especially for older adults:

  • Install mounted guard rails on stairs, tubs, and near the toilet
  • Removing clutter and obstacles like side tables from main entry or exit ways
  • Get rid of unsecured rugs
  • Ensure that there is ample light throughout the home

These can be useful tips for anyone when it comes to fall prevention, but you can also visit the homes of your elder loved ones to ensure that their spaces are cleared away from needless dangers or obstacles. 

5. Contact Trustworthy Personal Injury Attorneys

Unfortunately, our best efforts can only do so much. In many cases, our best efforts to not get hurt can be negated by the negligence of others. If you get hurt in 2020 in a car accident, on someone else’s property, or as the result of a dangerous product, exercise your right to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. Fort Collins personal injury attorneys can help you attempt to recover medical costs as well as damages that include lost income, pain, suffering, or permanent disability.

Schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation by contacting Hadfield Stieben & Doutt today.