Garages are a popular home feature, and for good reason: They can raise the sales value of your home if maintained properly; they protect your car from inclement weather; and they are great for extra storage space. However, too few people realize the dangers that come alongside the conveniences. Did you know that garage doors cause up to 30,000 injuries per year? That is not a number to take lightly. The team at Thunder Garage Door & Locksmith Services encourages you to take garage door safety seriously. The best way to do that is by educating yourself on the topic and following the safety tips below. 

Common Garage Door Accidents 

As we mentioned, the best way to prevent accidents is by educating yourself on the safety hazards that garage doors can cause. Once you know this information, you can take steps to prevent accidents from happening. These are three common garage door accidents that occur in the United States every year: 

1. Garage Door Lowering Onto People and Pets

Modern garage doors are equipped with sensors that signal when an object or person is in the way. When the sensors detect an obstruction, the garage door reverses. Unfortunately, however, no technology is perfect. Sometimes, the sensors or automatic reverse system malfunction, causing people (especially children) and animals to get trapped beneath garage doors. This can cause serious injury and even death, as garage doors weigh hundreds of pounds.

2. Fingers Getting Caught 

It’s important to keep your fingers clear of your garage door when it is opening or closing. Often children do not register the danger of a moving garage door, and they may place their fingers near parts of the garage door opening system, thus resulting in injury. Alternately, sometimes adults try to DIY garage door repairs instead of calling a professional, which is another cause of finger injuries.

3. Lock-Ins

Your garage door opening system is made up of multiple components. If something goes wrong with one part, it quickly starts to affect the rest of the system. Minor issues can become major if not taken care of properly, which results in accidents. For instance, your garage door could slam shut and trap you inside. If you live by yourself and do not have your cell phone on you, imagine how dangerous a lock-in can be! 

A woman trapped beneath a garage door, emphasizing the need for garage door safety

How to Prevent Garage Door Accidents 

Thinking about garage door accidents can be scary. After all, no one wants to face injury or see harm come to a beloved child or pet. Thankfully, most garage door accidents are preventable if you follow our advice. These five tips for garage door safety should help you and your family avoid danger. 

1. Replace Your Garage Door If It Was Manufactured Before 1982

In 1982, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) implemented safety requirements for garage door openers to prevent accidents. From then on, all garage doors needed an auto-reverse mechanism to meet ANSI standards. However, doors manufactured before 1982 likely do not have this safety feature. Therefore, it’s wise to get a replacement. 

2. Maintain Sensors For Garage Door Safety Calmness 

Your sensors detect obstructions in the path of your garage door, thus preventing accidents and property damage. When these sensors malfunction, it creates a safety hazard. To prevent accidents, clean your sensors every month with a gentle cloth to prevent dirt buildup. Additionally, place an object near the sensors and try to close the door after cleaning everything. If the door doesn’t close, you have nothing to worry about. The sensors are working as they should. 

3. Check Your Opener Motor’s Functionality

Your opener motor reverses when it senses pressure. In other words, if your garage door starts pressing down on an object, the motor stops it from lowering any further. The best way to check your opener motor’s functionality is by placing a one-and-a-half-inch block (or similar object) in the path of your garage door, then trying to close it. Your garage door should retract within two seconds of pressing on the block. If not, you should get your opener motor inspected by a professional. 

4. Educate Children About Garage Door Safety 

It’s important to have a frank conversation with your children about garage door safety. Explain to them how a garage door can harm them, such as pinching their fingers, and then set rules to prevent injuries. Some good rules to set are: 

  • Keep your hands away from the garage door when it opens and closes. 
  • Always wait for the garage door to open or close completely before going under it. 
  • Do not play near the garage without supervision. 

5. Inspect Your Garage Door Regularly To Ensure Its Garage Door Safety Features 

You can prevent many garage door accidents by performing a regular inspection. Check the parts of your garage door involved in the opening process such as the cables, springs, and track for wear and tear. Also, listen closely when your door opens and closes. Strange or loud noises are a signal that your door requires maintenance. If something looks or sounds wrong, call a professional right away and do not DIY solutions. If a spring or cable snaps, it could cause serious damage to yourself and your property. 

6. Get Annual Inspections 

Getting your garage door professionally inspected once a year is an excellent way to maintain a safe home. Trained technicians can catch things that homeowners miss, saving you from the need for costly repairs and future issues. Prevention is crucial for garage door safety. The goal is to stop problems from occurring in the first place, thus significantly reducing the chance of damage or injury.

Contact Us Today! 

The team at Thunder Garage Door & Locksmith is here to help you with all of your maintenance and repair needs in the Vancouver and Portland areas. We have made it our mission to improve the lives of homeowners all across Washington and Oregon, and we want to help you next. Contact us today for assistance with garage door safety!