Simple safety measures make for a happily memorable Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day, millions of Americans fall into one of two categories: the travelers and the hosts. As to which represents the smaller piece of the furcula (better known as the wishbone; #TurkeyTrivia), that depends heavily on whom you ask. Some would rather spend hours crawling a highway than days cleaning to in-law standards, while others wouldn’t trade their homey kitchen traditions for all the pumpkin pies on Earth. In the end, though, the two groups’ union reminds us what Thanksgiving is all about: gathering with the very family and friends for whom we give thanks.

Of course, few would argue that with holiday joy and excitement often comes holiday stress—and nothing has the power to cause or compound it like something gone wrong. From minor traffic mishaps to devastating cooking catastrophes, many types of incidents are more common during major holidays. Fortunately, you can help protect your home, family and finances by taking some simple precautions around the much-anticipated main event.


If you’re traveling

Although you’ll be spending Thanksgiving elsewhere, make sure to mind your home before you hit the road. For example:

  • Don’t leave appliances running. If you won’t have time for an entire washer/dryer or dishwasher cycle to complete before you depart, it’s safest to let it wait.
  • Leave some lights on (or, better yet, use timer switches) and curtains open. An “occupied” appearance can help deter potential theft.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to check on things in your absence, especially if you’ll be gone overnight or longer.
  • As counterintuitive as it may seem these days, avoid posting holiday travel plans on social media. Experts note that such posts can serve as broadcasts to burglars.
  • Remember to lock windows and lesser used doors, in addition to your usual modes of entry/exit. Set alarms if you have them.

As for safe travels, follow these road-trip road tips:

  • If possible, plan to avoid peak Thanksgiving traffic. This typically occurs on the Wednesday before and the Sunday after the holiday, particularly in the afternoon and evening.
  • Be extra vigilant, especially if you do hit heavy traffic; even a light bumper tap could mean a huge dent in your holiday itinerary.
  • Remember that texting while driving is illegal in Massachusetts and nearly every other state. Leave any necessary texting or other phone use to your “co-pilot” or other passengers.
  • Drive rested. On a longer trip, take breaks at rest stops and consider rotating drivers.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Though it goes without saying, holiday gatherings make it worth a mention.

If you’re staying home (sweet home)

 Multiple dishes, multiple cooks and general holiday hubbub can be delightful—yet also dangerously distracting. Statistics show that the incidence of house fires on Thanksgiving is more than triple that of a typical day. In good news, most are easily preventable:

  • Ensure all smoke detectors are working and their batteries recently replaced.
  • Never leave stovetop cooking unattended; consider giving that helpful guest a “stove shift” while you tend to other tasks.
  • Make the most of oven timers as well as the good old-fashioned kind. Set one for checking on food, another for turning off the oven or stove.
  • Avoid long sleeves and loose clothing while cooking. Keep oven mitts, dish towels and food wrapping away from the stove.
  • Use extreme caution with turkey fryers. Never use them indoors, and always follow manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Place lit candles out of reach of small children and away from anything that could catch fire. Keep matches and utility lighters out of children’s reach, too.

For extra peace of mind, make The Dowd Insurance Agencies part of your holiday prep. Our insurance experts can help you understand the ins and outs of your current home and auto coverage, or help you explore new options. Full-on football fest or turkey for two, do all you can for a safe and happy Thanksgiving; you’ll have yourself to thank for the memories.