The Fourth of July has frequently topped the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) list of most deadly holidays. This puts it above New Year's Day and other holidays often synonymous with "drinking days."
More than forty percent of deaths on July 4th (and the days around it) are caused by alcohol-related accidents. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is predicting that 140 people will die across the U.S. this year on the Fourth.
How can you stay safe this July 4th?
First, do not expect other drivers to be alert. Any of the drivers around you might be driving drunk. They may make sudden movements, swerve into your lane, or fail to follow traffic signs. For these reasons, keep an eye on the road and on other drivers and be prepared for the unexpected.
This means putting down your cell phone and avoiding other distractions (changing radio stations, focusing on passengers, doing your hair, etc.). Distracted driving contributes to nearly 20 percent of all injury-causing car accidents and can be especially deadly during busy travelling (and drinking) days.
Other ways to stay safe include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Buckling your seat belt
- Slowing down in construction zones
- Choosing not to drink and drive or get into a car with a drunk driver
- Calling 911 if you notice any suspicious driving on the road
If you are involved in a Fourth of July car accident, assess yourself for injuries and call the police. Write down the license plate and insurance of the other driver and the names of any witnesses. Take pictures of the damage (even with your cell phone). Then, contact a personal injury attorney who can help you recover compensation from the insurance companies or other parties involved in the accident.