Classic holiday movie teaches important safety lessons

December 03, 2019 | SECURA Insurance

What better way to brush up on holiday safety than through observation? We've compiled a list of six lessons learned from the classic National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. If you haven't seen this wildly hilarious movie, you still can learn a valuable lesson from the main character, Clark Griswold, who is a walking risk. 

Lesson 1: Always check your blind spot. 

In the opening scene, Clark develops a serious case of road rage on his way to a tree lot. He winds up driving his car beneath a semi-truck's trailer when he fails to check his blind spot. He escapes, but only to crash his car into a snow bank. 

Lesson 2: Ladder safety isn't for the birds. 

Clark is determined to have Chicago's most beautifully lit home. Using no spotter and an unstable ladder, he staple guns his shirt sleeve to the house soffit and eventually falls from his roof – luckily into a nicely padded bed of evergreens. 

Lesson 3: Know your policy limits. 

Shortly before Clark's fall, he is hanging for dear life from his gutters. When the gutters break from the house's soffit, an ice "pole" flies from the gutter into his nemesis neighbor's window, smashing an expensive stereo system. Something like this could feasibly be covered under a homeowners' insurance policy with the proper limits since stupidity technically is not an exclusion. 

Lesson 4: Keep your attic properly insulated and ventilated. 

While hiding Christmas gifts in the attic, Clark gets trapped in the freezing cold by his mother-in-law. While it's not an ideal temperature for anyone trapped in an attic, a properly insulated attic can help prevent serious ice damage to your home - and save you a ton in heating costs. 

Lesson 5: Don't overload your circuits or outlets. 

Clark nearly goes mad trying to determine why his lights won't work, while the viewer sees an image of clearly overloaded outlets and numerous extension cords in his basement. While Clark eventually gets these lights to work, the real point is that overloading outlets is dangerous. In fact, electrical fires claim the lives of 485 Americans and injure 2,305 each year. This adds up to more than $850 million in property losses annually. 

Lesson 6: Properly maintain a fresh-cut evergreen. 

Realistically, you won't carry a critter into your home via your Christmas tree like Clark did, but it makes for an entertaining fiasco in the movie. What you should do is water your tree every day and keep it away from heat sources to prevent it from drying too quickly. In addition, never leave the lights on overnight or when you're away from home. As Clark's family experiences, an over-dry tree can ignite easily.