You can look both ways before crossing the street, cross only on a green light, and triple check right hand turns before stepping off the curb. When you’re driving, you can stop completely at stop signs and take your time turning right on a red light. However, sometimes that’s not enough to avoid an accident.
Unfortunately, accidents happen despite our best efforts to remain aware of our surroundings. Sometimes those accidents are bizarre, yet are more common than you think.
Here are 4 tips to avoid some of these strange accidents.
1. Exploding manholes: give manholes a wide berth
How many times have you walked over a manhole without a second thought? As long as the cover is on, there’s no way you’ll fall through, so what is there to worry about? If you live in New York City, falling into a manhole should be the least of your worries. The bigger threat is flying manhole covers.
Exploding manholes are a real, daily threat
Exploding manholes? It sounds like something out of an action movie, but New York City firefighters respond to around three explosions each day in January and February.
Gathering data from city records, Lipsig Law reported 4,000 FDNY dispatches for manhole explosions between 2009 and 2018. These accidents caused a minimum of 57 injuries. No doubt, many of the injured parties pursued personal injury lawsuits against the city of New York.
When corrosive salt is sprinkled onto the roads to melt ice, the salt seeps into manholes and interacts with the electrical wiring. When gas builds up, a small spark ignites an explosion that turns a manhole cover into a deadly projectile.
While you might never witness this type of accident, it’s always a risk in areas that salt the roads. Give manholes a wide berth whenever possible and be ready to duck behind a trash can or pole if you hear an explosion. It sounds a little weird, but a split-second decision could save your life.
2. Falling trees: inspect your campsite before setting up your tent
They call dead trees and hanging branches “widow makers” for a reason – they are deadly. Although, not all hazard trees are easily identified. Some hazard trees can appear healthy but will fall over in a gentle wind storm. Root rot is one example of a problem that can cause a healthy-looking tree to fall over with little force.
Identifying hazardous trees isn’t an innate skill. There are many details to consider when assessing trees. Your best bet is to take a class that will teach you how to identify diseased and weakened trees. Once you take the class, you’ll be able to spot hazardous trees all over the place.
3. Treestand falls: use a fall-restraint device
While deer hunting, you’re more likely to fall out of a tree than get shot. Each year, more than 5,000 deer hunters in the U.S. fall from trees and treestands.
Several studies on treestand-related injuries found that the risk of falling out of a treestand is cumulative: the more often you hunt aloft, the more likely you are to fall and need medical care.
Falling out of a tree is preventable by using a fall-resistant device. If you hunt for deer from aloft, whether you use a bow or a gun, get a safety harness and wear it at all times when you’re not on the ground. No matter how high you climb a tree, a safety harness is the only thing that will prevent you from becoming one of the 5,000 people who will fall and become injured this year.
4. Getting shot in public: wear bulletproof clothing
Unfortunately, we live in a time when we have to think about protecting ourselves from being shot in public. We need to protect ourselves from accidental and intentional shootings.
According to data obtained by Time.com, in 2016, there were more than 38,000 gun-related deaths in the United States. Accidental shootings caused just 495 of those deaths. This means if you’re going to get shot, you’re more likely to be shot intentionally than by accident.
If you live in an area where gun crime is high, you need protection more than anyone. The best way to protect yourself from getting shot in public is to wear bulletproof clothing.
While it’s legal in most states to wear a tactical vest in public, it’s probably not a good idea. Wearing tactical gear will draw attention from cops and will just make you look suspicious. Instead, get a casual-looking bulletproof jacket that will help you blend in.
Be safe, stay aware
Hopefully you’ll never have to experience any of these bizarre accidents, but now you know how to protect yourself.