It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and have your day ruined when an accident happens. Unlike Bob Ross and his paintings, for most of us, there are rarely “happy, little accidents.” Accidents happen when we least expect them, and they may change our lives forever.
Here are five types of accidents that may happen and some planning tips that can help you prepare.
1. Stave Off an Unplanned Pregnancy
You’re all dressed up and ready for the date. You’ve thought of everything — extra money, your favorite Chanel lipstick, a safe ride if you drink too much. The evening turns out to be everything you wanted it to be. Except you and your date were more into each other than you had prepared for.
Now you’re freaking out. Thoughts of an unplanned pregnancy are running circles through your mind, and you have no idea what to do about it.
The best way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy is to use birth control. Planned Parenthood shares 18 different methods of birth control. These methods include well-known options like condoms, birth control pills, and IUDs. However, a doctor may also prescribe an emergency contraceptive if preventive methods weren’t used. Keep in mind you usually have three to five days after intercourse to use the emergency pills.
2. Prepare for Severe Weather
The Weather Channel is full of news reports that powerful storms are in the area. Most of the time, they pass with heavy rain and winds. It’s not uncommon to find tree branches down and debris around the yard.
But this time, the top of the tree in your front yard fell through your ceiling. You’re in a panic, worried about keeping your family safe and getting out of the house.
While none of us expects this type of accident to happen, it helps to have a severe weather plan. Start by keeping trees trimmed and maintain the plants around your home. If you know bad weather is coming, move patio furniture and loose objects to a more secure location. Create a plan identifying the safest places in your home to shelter in place and where you will meet if you evacuate. Memorize the most important numbers in case you evacuate without your phones or cell towers are down.
3. Help Ensure Safe Road Travel
While school is getting ready to start, many families will plan fall weekend trips to enjoy autumn’s cooler days and beauty. You’ve got lodging reservations, the car is packed, and you’re enjoying a scavenger hunt during the drive.
The next thing you know, you’re involved in a car accident. Every year, more than 38,000 people die in car crashes, and more than 4 million people need medical attention. Your mind keeps running to all the worst-case scenarios.
Here are some safety steps you can take ahead of time to reduce potential risks. Give the car a safety inspection checking tire pressure, oil, and gas levels. It’s also essential to ensure you get enough sleep the night before a trip and don’t travel too late into the day. Stopping about every two hours is an excellent way to stay alert during long trips. Ensure your insurance or roadside assistance numbers are programmed into your phone before the journey starts.
4. Protect Rover from Poisoning
Another source of accidents that can change your life involves the beloved family pet. Here’s a scenario that may sound familiar. You’re in the process of making dinner and your dog, Rover, is at your feet hoping for a treat. Your son took Rover outside to play, and you opened a bottle of Tylenol for your headache. The phone rings, distracting you from dinner and medicine.
In the meantime, Rover finds his way back into the kitchen and starts trying to counter surf. But instead of getting a hold of your chicken dinner, he knocks the Tylenol onto the floor. And then he eats all the pills that fell out of the bottle. When you realize this, your heart is in your throat. Visions of your son grieving while the dog dies of poisoning fill your mind.
While you may have trained your dog to stay out of the kitchen and off counters, sometimes accidents still happen. It helps to have your vet’s phone number handy in your cell phone. You can also keep a pet first-aid kit on hand. Store contact information for the nearest animal hospital in case you need help after hours. The Pet Poison Helpline is also available 24/7 for quick advice on how to care for your pet.
5. Prevent a House Fire
As summer ends, the weather starts to turn cooler, and days get shorter, we tend to enjoy a few pastimes related to the season. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, you may light a fire in the evening. And burning candles is a favorite way to add a sense of peace and freshen smells in the air. But where there are flickering flames, there can be the danger of a house fire. Planning ahead to cover a few safety tips can help keep your home (and you) safe.
If you do have a fireplace, schedule annual fall inspections. The chimney sweep will make sure the inside of the fireplace and flue are clear from obstructions and potentially dangerous debris.
When you build a fire, limit its use to no more than five hours at a time. And never leave the fire unattended. It helps to keep fire extinguishers nearby too; they’re available from most home improvement stores at reasonable prices.
If you’re planning to burn candles, using candle holders and keeping the area clean will help prevent possible fires. Another fire prevention strategy is to place candles in non-drafty areas of the room. Also think about how you are lighting your candles. Matches are generally the least safe way to light one, whereas long butane lighters are the safest.
Many times we know what can go wrong, but often we don’t expect accidents to happen. Sometimes the results are minor, but small accidents can also have life-changing consequences. Planning can’t stop bad things from happening, but it does give you ways to respond quickly. And often, your ability to react quickly can make all the difference in the outcome.