5 Tips To Help Keep The Holidays The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

From decorating for the holidays and visiting family to preparing feasts and enjoying activities in the snow, this time of year provides seemingly unending choices for fun, family and fellowship. Unfortunately, the busyness and merriment of this time of year also means the potential for snowmanincreased injury from a variety of sources.

Let’s take a look at 5 main areas injuries often take place during the holidays as well as tips for keeping the season safe and joy-filled.

  1. Toys

Safety in play during the holidays begins with making sure toys are appropriate for a child’s age and ability as well as providing appropriate supervision. Start by checking age ranges on toys before purchasing. With younger kids, also be aware of the packaging for toys, making sure potential eye hazards are removed. Special care also needs taken with flying and projectile toys, including chemistry sets, airsoft and BB guns and rockets. Supervise older kids using projectile toys, and make sure they follow directions and wear goggles when operating these toys. Also remember to keep younger children and other spectators at a safe distance.

For more information on keeping kids safe during sports and play, check out these helpful articles: Airsoft Safety, Part 1 and Part 2 and The Top 5 Most Unlikely Holiday Safety Risks.

  1. Decorations

Most homes are filled with festive decorations this time of year. Be sure to check that breakable ornaments are out of the reach of young children and make sure branches on Christmas trees aren’t sticking out at a child’s eye-level. Other decorations posing potential injury threat include fireplaces, candles and electrical cords. Use common sense with each of these, making sure they won’t cause someone to trip and that they are safely avoidable. Another potential hazardous decoration is spray snow because the chemicals can easily harm eyes. Use caution when applying making sure to wear safety goggles when doing so.

  1. Food

For some, holiday food is the best part of the holiday season. And other than the extra calories, many don’t consider the potential safety hazard accompanying all that extra food. To begin, be aware of the safe handling and cooking processes needed for the food you’re preparing. From food allergies to food poisoning, being aware of the potential health hazards can help make sure everyone enjoys the festivities. Food safety also involves making sure an active kitchen is always supervised and that smoke alarms are in working order. Finally, keep children away from hot surfaces, and encourage everyone to wash hands frequently.

  1. Snow

If you live in or are traveling to an area with the potential for a white Christmas, you’re probably looking forward to sledding and snowball fights and possibly snowmobiling, skiing or snowboarding. If your holiday plans include these or other outdoor snow-related activities, make sure everyone’s gear includes sunglasses or goggles to protect eyes both from impact and from the sun. Also, keep in mind that the possibility for sunburn still exists in cold weather, and that its potential significantly increases with altitude. In addition to protecting eyes, protect the rest of your body by staying dry and dressing warmly with layers.

Check out these great articles related to safety in the snow: Links to articles on Cold Weather Safety, Great Goggles Make Snowmobiling Even More Enjoyable, and An Expert’s Guide to Skiing Sunglasses Lens Tints.

  1. Travel

Most people travel at least some over the holidays with many traveling significant distances. Keep in mind that weather makes road conditions vary significantly from one location to the next as well as at different times of day. Plus, there are the vision challenges often accompanying long drives. Vision can become blurry from fatigue, sunlight reflecting off snow makes seeing anything difficult, and just general fatigue can wreak havoc on anyone’s alertness. Tips for safe holiday travel include wearing the proper eyewear for the time of day, including always sunglasses during the day. Other options for reducing the chance of accidents caused by fatigue include resting frequently, keeping the car cool and sharing the driving. And tips on travel safety during the holidays would be incomplete without encouraging that a designated driver be chosen prior to indulging in any holiday drinking.

For more on the challenges of night driving, check out Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 1 and Part 2.

Following the simple tips above can help ensure this holiday season stays the most wonderful time of year.

Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 2

Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and SolutionsA great deal of misconceptions exists about night driving, and “night driving eyewear” is actually a highly sought-after product. But there are some significant considerations when searching for them, and there really is no catch-all sort of solution. Before trying night vision eyewear for driving, be sure to employ the tips provided in Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 1 as well as additional tips provided by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Lens Color and Night Vision

There are two main reasons people generally look for night driving glasses. First, to enhance contrast and depth perception in dim light. Second, to reduce glare from oncoming headlights. Let’s look at each of these reasons in turn and try to determine if lens color can provide any solutions to nighttime driving vision problems.

Enhancing Contrast and Depth Perception

This goal can only be achieved during the 2+ hour duration before and during dusk or at other times that are dim without being dark. A yellow/amber lens can brighten surroundings using the small amount of light available. But the key is that these lenses require the presence of some light as benefits are lost when darkness fully descends. Once it is fully dark, not much can help improve visibility.

But even with the possibility of a yellow/amber lens improving visibility in some conditions, the use of tint of any sort once dusk hits is controversial. In fact, eye experts at Laramy-K Optical strongly discourage the use of yellow lenses for night driving and even driving at dusk because “ANY tint further reduces the amount of light transmitted to the eye.” They quote Dr. Merrill J. Allen from the Forensic Aspects of Vision and Highway Safety who says that yellow lenses can “actually impair visual performances and retard glare recovery.”

Reducing Glare from Oncoming Headlights

This goal is achieved using almost anything other than clear. However, this need usually applies in the dark when headlights appear even brighter by contrast.  This type of glare is different than that generated by the sun.  Thus, a polarized lens, which is by far the best for reducing sun glare, will not have the same benefit against headlights.  To reduce headlight glare, a dark mirror lens would likely be most effective.  Unfortunately, this type of lens is neither practical nor advisable in the dark. Arguably, the best alternative then is an indoor/outdoor lens that has a light mirror coating over a clear lens. However, even this type of lens only allows 50-60% light transmission, so it will darken not just the view of the lights but your total surroundings as well. Obviously, this presents a danger with the already dark conditions of nighttime.

So what’s the best choice?

Drivers must understand what they are trying to achieve and how important that goal is to them. They must also realize the trade-off for trying to reduce headlight glare. Experts at Safety Glasses USA advise customers to “please choose wisely,” and to cease using any lens if it impairs vision. Customers must realize that there is no perfect or even ideal type of night driving glasses because there are too many variables such as one’s sensitivity to light, one’s natural ability to see in the dark, the varying environmental light conditions and driver objective.

Conclusion

The bottom line remains that having perfect vision for driving at dawn, dusk or nighttime simply isn’t possible. The first approach should be to remove any obstacles to clear vision, such as those suggested in Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 1. Should you choose to experiment with night driving glasses or even with various lens tints, know clearly that eye experts warn against this as a safe option.

Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 1

Dips in the road. Lane demarcations. Headlight glare. Whether or not you wear glasses, driving at night puts a strain on the eyes. In fact, Driving at Night Proves Dangerous for some 32% of drivers who say they struggle seeing at least part of the time at night. This is one reason, states the Federal Highway Administration, that about half of all traffic fatalities occur at night though only about a quarter of total driving takes place then. (Note that drunk driving and drowsy driving contribute largely to these fatalities too.) Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut solutions to the problem many drivers have with seeing while driving at dusk and dawn as well as after dark.Night Driving

While some individuals turn to night driving glasses, which are readily available at retailers, experts express great caution and even warn against doing so. This 2-part series serves to educate the consumer and to somewhat mitigate this controversial topic. In addition, this series will provide additional suggestions for reducing the vision challenges that so many drivers face at night as well as at dawn and dusk.

Sources of Night Vision Problems

Assuring the best night vision possible begins with first making sure the eyes themselves are healthy. This means getting eyes examined regularly and always wearing up-to-date prescriptions. Before deciding to use tinted lenses for nighttime driving, make sure you have taken the following steps to improve your individual driving circumstances.

  1. Clean lenses, windshields and headlights. Make sure all of these surfaces are free of dust and smears. Keeping these surfaces clean goes a long way in reducing eye strain. In fact, with regard specifically to headlights, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that “even a thin layer of road grime on lenses can block up to 90 percent of light and severely restrict your ability to see at night.” AAA also says that “for maximum glare prevention, keep every surface between your eyes and the road as clear as possible – including both sides of your windshield and your eyeglasses.” Make a habit of cleaning your glasses regularly and clean the windows in your vehicle as well as the headlights at least once a month.
  2. Investigate possible causes of night vision problems. Poor night vision may be a sign of a serious health condition including vitamin deficiencies, cataracts as well as other significant health problems. In fact, the first sign of cataracts is often decreased night vision with blurry vision also being common. Deficiencies in Vitamin A or Zinc can also cause problems with night vision. Sunlight exposure can also cause eyes to struggle seeing at night, which is yet another reason to wear quality sunglasses that protect against the sun’s harmful rays. See your eye doctor when you first experience night vision problems to make sure a treatable health problem isn’t the source.
  3. Use antireflective coating if you already wear prescription eyeglasses. Laramy-K Optical suggests using anti-reflective coating on prescription eyeglasses as the best option for nighttime driving. Doing so can minimize reflections within the glasses themselves, reduce halo problems, and increase the transmittance of light through the lens to the eye. However, and this is significant, if a person does not normally wear prescription eyeglasses, Laramy-K Optical says that an AR coating on any other type of glasses will not be helpful for improving nighttime vision while driving.

The above suggestions provide the best and least controversial routes for improving night vision. Additional solutions such as using tinted lenses or night-vision goggles involve going down a dim road with no clear-cut answers. This topic will be explored in two weeks in Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 2.