Fall into Safety this Autumn Season

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

As the leaves on the trees, weather and hours of daylight each day begin to change this fall season, new safety concerns are emerging around cold & flu season to driving in the dark. The start of a new season can also be a good time to be reminded of important practices to keep families safe and healthy.

11-346_GlowGerm_3112The dreaded fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, nausea can only mean one thing – you have the flu bug. People are contagious one day before symptoms appear and up to a week after. When you don’t feel well, it’s best to take care of yourself and co-workers by staying home. And don’t go back to work (or school) for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone. To help combat the spread of the illness, the CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine annually. Avoid being around sick people whenever possible, wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, always cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, preferably with the inside of your arm rather than your hand, and disinfect any surfaces that may be contaminated.

For many throughout the country, Daylight Savings Time takes place the first Sunday in November and serves as a great reminder to perform safety checks on batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. When the time comes for us to set our clocks back an hour, many dread the lack of daylight and darkness that comes with it. Fatigue, lack of light, compromised night vision, rush hour and impaired drivers all contribute to making driving at night more dangerous than during any other time of day according to the National Safety Council. Additionally, depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark, and the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle can temporarily blind a driver. Pedestrians, such as those walking home from work or school to children trick or treating at Halloween time, can also be hard to see. Here are 10 safety tips to keep in mind for driving in darkness:

  1. Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they’re clean.
  2. Dim your dashboard.
  3. Look away from oncoming lights.
  4. If you wear glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective.
  5. Clean the windshield to eliminate streaks.
  6. Slow down to compensate for limited visibility and reduced stopping time.
  7. Get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, so you are not drowsy.
  8. Don’t drive if you’ve been awake for 24 hours or more.
  9. If traveling a long distance, stop every two hours to rest.
  10. Travel during times you are normally awake.

These safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, which are held each year throughout North America. To date, more than 1.6 million children & adults have participated in a Safety Day within their local community. Learn more at progressiveag.org

Photo:  At numerous Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, like this one in Iowa, participants learn the importance of proper handwashing to avoid the spread of germs.