The main danger of the 4th of July is not the fireworks, but the accidents. Enjoying yourself should be your main concern this holiday weekend, so don’t let a car accident get in the way of that. Take extra care to stay safe on the roads!
Holiday weekends are notoriously dangerous times to drive. More people on the road combined with more alcohol consumption leads to more accidents and more traffic deaths.
For many years, Independence Day has been the most dangerous holiday to be on the road in America. From 1978 to 2002, the first and second most deadly days on the road were July 4th and July 3rd respectively, according to a Department of Transportation study. More than 7,000 people died in traffic accidents between July 3rd and 4th over this 24-year period.
In 2009, 410 people died on U.S. roads during the 4th of July weekend. An unsettling 40% of these were attributed to alcohol or sleep deprivation. Take special care on the road this Independence Day, because nothing will ruin your holiday weekend like a car wreck.
Do Not Drink and Drive
Driving drunk or under the influence of any substance is a terrible idea in any situation. Driving drunk is even more dangerous for everyone on the road during this holiday. Do not put yourself in a situation where you will be tempted to drive drunk. If anyone you know is tempted to drive while intoxicated, do not let them! Driving while under the influence, especially during the holidays, puts you and everyone on the road around you at an even higher risk of danger.
Even if you stay sober and keep your eyes on the road for your entire holiday drive, not everyone on the road will be so responsible. Not only will there be more drunk drivers than on a normal day, drivers are also more likely to be distracted or drowsy. Late-night celebrations can bring exhausted drivers to the road. Appropriately patriotic, but rowdy, celebrators can distract other drivers. Use extra caution driving during the 4th of July and be aware of distracted driving.
Defensive driving is especially important during busy holidays. Increase your following distances and avoid drivers who seem to be driving erratically. Do not hurry, even if are late to an event.
Wear your seat belt and insist that all your passengers wear theirs. Minimize driving at night if you can. Driving is always more dangerous in the dark. You are likely to encounter more drunk drivers, who can be harder to avoid in the dark night. You cannot control the actions of distracted drivers, so do your best to avoid them and keep yourself safe.
Be extra careful so you do not become one of this weekend’s many victims!
Photo courtesy of Jon Sullivan