While most of us are celebrating our country’s independence, far too many people will be losing their mobility or their lives in needless traffic accidents. The Fourth of July holiday and the travel days surrounding it are consistently among the deadliest of year on our nation’s roads. Most days, traffic related deaths average 114 nationwide. On the Fourth of July that average spikes to 148. Here are some 4th of July safe driving tips to help you avoid the accidents that can trash your driving record, jeopardize your car insurance and ruin your life.
About 50% of all July 4th traffic accidents involve alcohol. If you’re hosting a party that includes adult beverages, you could be liable for accidents caused by an over-served guest. Take these precautions:
- Designate a responsible person to dispense the drinks and alert you to intoxicated guests.
- Serve plenty of high protein food to slow alcohol absorption.
- Take guests’ keys at the door and don’t return them if someone appears too drunk to drive. Call them a cab, find a sober guest to drive them home or offer them a guest room instead.
If you’re planning to be on the road for the holiday, plan ahead. Make sure your car is in good working condition. Top off fluids, check the battery, signal lights and tire pressure. If you’re toting a lot of cargo, make sure it’s secured so it doesn’t become a projectile if you have to brake suddenly or are hit by another car. If you’re bringing along a pet, put it in a travel crate anchored with straps or bungee cords, or use a seat belt attachment designed for pets. (And please don’t leave a pet or child alone in a hot car; temperatures can soar to fatal levels within just a few minutes.) Plot your route and program your GPS before you head out. Trying to do this while you’re driving is a dangerous distraction.
Drive with your lights on, even in the daytime. This will help make you more visible. Avoid driving at night if at all possible. Most Fourth of July traffic accidents happen after dark.
Sudden summer rain storms can spoil more than the fireworks displays. They mix with oil on the road and create slick conditions. Observe speed limits and don’t tailgate, and exercise extra caution when roads
Stay safe and have a happy 4th of July!