West London is beautiful all year around, but as a variety of lovely colours begin to appear throughout October, autumn takes the top spot of favourite season. Whether it’s a stroll in Kew Gardens, a trip to Richmond Park or exploring Chiswick House and Gardens, there is plenty to keep you amused during the crisp autumn months.
Whether you are the type of person who loves the outdoors – jogging through the woods admiring the blissful mornings – or you would prefer to be sitting inside with a nice hot chocolate by the fire catching up on the latest episodes of The Great British Bake Off, keeping safe should be your top priority. Here are some top tips for making the most of the coming months, whilst avoiding the risks that are present at this time of year.
Driving in the autumn months may seem a breeze but interestingly, you are around 15% more likely to be involved in an accident at this time than in the spring and summer months. This could be due to a number of reasons including the low position of the sun at rush hour and the subsequent glare on the roads, impaired visibility caused by wearing sunglasses and even increased wildlife activity at this time of the year. With so many factors coming into play, it is important that you are extra vigilant and allow a little extra time for travel.
Remember that other drivers will probably be facing the same challenges on the road as you are, so try to be considerate to others and treat other road users as you would like to be treated. This extends to non-car drivers too, such as cyclists and pedestrians. Everyone is likely to be rushing to their destinations and the unpredictable weather could create unexpected and unplanned hazards. Therefore, always err on the side of caution when approaching or overtaking cyclists and be sure to slow down at crossroads and turnings where pedestrians may step out without looking.
Watch your step
As the weather changes and the colder temperatures (rain and frost) set in, roads, pavements and sidewalks are likely to be much more slippery than they were over the summer months. If leaving early in the morning, be aware of frost and potential ice which could cause you to slip over and injure yourself. When the trees start shedding their leaves and covering the ground, they could cover up potentially dangerous hazards such as roots, holes and even sharp objects. It is advisable to approach any covered areas with caution and if you are walking to work or to another appointment or event, allow a little extra time to get to your destination.
There are several public firework displays taking place in West London this year including at Ealing Cricket Park and Wimbledon Park, where both children’s displays and larger events are taking place. Whilst these are great events for the family there are always risks, so it is important to take steps to prevent accidents or burn injuries from happening. The golden rule is to keep a safe distance from any lit fireworks and never approach one which has already been lit, even if it looks like it isn’t going to go off. They can spontaneously explode or shoot off in any direction if their mounting has slipped, so can pose a significant risk.
At large events, falling embers and debris can potentially cause injuries or cause flammable materials to ignite, so you might want to consider donning a cap for the festivities and making sure your children are covered up too. For particularly tiny ones or those with sensitive ears, it would be well worth investing in some good quality sound protector earmuffs, as larger displays can be extremely loud.
Finally, if your little ones are holding sparklers keep a close eye on them and ensure they are held away from the face. Once the sparkler has run out, do not let your child throw it on the ground. Instead place it head down into a bucket of water.
If you or a family member experiences a burn-related accident at a public event, you should find out how to claim compensation for a burn injury, as you could be entitled to compensation for the injury sustained or towards your on-going treatment.
Cosy at home
If you are more of a home-bird and love the comforts of staying wrapped up inside, there’s plenty to keep you amused, from watching your favourite soaps to reading a book or partaking in a hobby. However, it is important to note that your home can also be a potential hazard at this time of year due to carbon monoxide. This is known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t physically see it, it has no odour and you can’t taste it either. If you have an appliance in your home that burns resources such as gas, wood, coal or oil, you could be at risk if the appliance is faulty or if the vents, flumes or chimney is blocked, preventing the dangerous fumes from escaping. If you own your home, you should regularly check these appliances and ensure you have the right ventilation in place, as well as investing in a good quality carbon monoxide detector. If you rent, it is worth checking what responsibilities you have as a tenant and what your landlord is required to do. If you have any concerns over a chimney or begin to feel unwell, it is important to switch off the appliance immediately and seek medical advice if your symptoms worsen.
If you are using portable heaters to provide a little extra warmth on those chilly days, make sure that they are not covered by blankets or any other materials that could catch fire. Only use them when you are present and switch them off when you leave for work or go to bed. If you have young children around, also make sure that small hands are kept away from the heater and warn them of the dangers of playing too close to it.
Whatever you have planned for the autumn months, following these tips will help you make the most of the fun and festivities whilst keeping yourself and those around you safe and sound.