Jun 11, 2019
Health Chatter: Holiday Safety - Avoiding accidents
By Alice Monk 11th June 2019
Accidents hold a higher fatality risk for travellers than diseases, so it’s important to look after your safety when on holiday just as much as you do at home. Don’t take unnecessary risks, even if other people are, and avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Familiarise yourself with the road laws and informal rules of the road for the country you’re in. Check the condition of your hire car before you set off. Always wear your seatbelt, and if you’re being driven, sit in the back of the car and only take marked taxis. Don’t drink and drive. Avoid motorcycles and mopeds, especially if you don’t usually drive them, but wear a helmet if you do decide to take this mode of transport.
Remember, the more you drink, the more likely you are to have an accident. Alcohol affects your judgement and can lead you to make poor decisions that can put you in unsafe situations. It also affects your balance and slows down your reaction speed so you’re less able to protect yourself. Alcohol can stay in your system longer than you think, so be mindful of this if you’re driving or swimming later on or the following day. Stay with your travel companions so you can look out for each other and avoid balconies as these are often the location of serious alcohol or drug related accidents on holiday.
Swimming in a pool is generally safer than in the sea, however you should still avoid swimming alone, check the depth before jumping or diving, and always follow the rules of the pool. If swimming in the sea, check warnings each day about swimming conditions, and try to only swim in marked safe areas. Be aware of rip currents, tides and venomous sea life such as jellyfish or sea anemones. Never swim after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
If your travels include adventure sports such as climbing, white water rafting, or snow sports, check the reviews and credentials of the company running the activity to make sure they are reputable and will keep you safe. Make sure your travel insurance covers the activity too as these sports carry a higher risk of accident, and getting medical help abroad can be very expensive.
Before you go
Being as prepared as you can be before you go on holiday is the best way to stay safe, and to minimise stress if you do run into trouble abroad. That means:
- Educating yourself about the country you’re going to and any specific safety considerations (Check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s country guides for up to date information).
- Planning ahead to make sure you have time to sort out things like travel insurance, travel money, and getting a suitable travel first aid kit. Make copies of your travel documents and store them securely.
- Booking an appointment with a travel clinic to find out if you need vaccines or anti malaria medication – prevention is far better than cure (and cure is not always possible).
- Informing people you trust about where you’re going, what you’ll be doing there, and when you will be back.
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