SIDNEY — The countdown is on. Christmas is jut days away.
And the 2020 Christmas celebration will be different than those of yesteryear.
No matter how you’re celebrating Christmas and New Year’s, Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart says it should be safety first for both holidays.
“You might have to deal with holiday weather,” said Lenhart, of those families who are traveling. “There were 278 fatal crashes last year across the United States. Ohio had 10 fatalities last year.
“If you’re traveling to visit your extended family, here’s some tips on how to get there safely,” said Lenhart.
Depending on what day you’re traveling, there might be an increase in vehicle traffic. Take your time when traveling for the holiday.
“The leading causes of crashes is speeding, unsafe roads covered with snow and ice, driving on unfamiliar roads and driving under the influence,” said Lenhart.
“Be a defensive driver when you’re traveling,” he aid.He also reminded drivers to be aware of the blind spots around their vehicles.
“Blind spots can get a lot of folks in trouble,” he said. “Look twice if you’re going to move from one lane of travel to the other on the highway,”
He encourages drivers not to tailgate when following another vehicle In addition to being a cause of a person rear-ended another vehicle, there’s also a danger of being in the other driver’s blind spot and they won’t realize someone is following them.
The family member hosting the celebration should have flashlights and other types of lights for their guests in case the power goes off or they are walking in unfamiliar ares outside or even going upstairs to make sure the path is bright.
If it’s snowed, make sure the path is clear of snow and ice for easy walking, he said.
“Families should talk before the event,” he said. “Some families may feel more comfortable bringing their own table service to the dinner. If you have a buffet, have one person serve the meal to the guests and make sure they are wearing masks and gloves.
“Make sure there’s plenty of fresh air where you’re eating. If you eat in a garage, make sure the tables are 6 feet apart,” he said. “Open the windows and doors so fresh air is flowing through the garage or room.”
All tables should b cleaned and disinfected, he said.
And remember, if serving alcohol, a person’s behavior can change because of the “adult beverage.”
During the holidays, said Lenhart, 76 million people will get sick from food poising,
“Don’t leave the food out after the meal has been served,” said Lenhart. “Put leftovers back in the refrigerator. There will be time later to consume those delicious leftovers.”
If your family enjoys playing games, Lenhart suggested holding an “ugly mask” contest instead of an ugly sweatier contest.
“It might b a fun way to decorate something we’re supposed to be wearing,” he said.
Lenhart and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office also wished all county residents a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The Sidney Daily News conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.