Independence Day Cheat Sheet:
At the end of a perfect Fourth of July holiday, don’t leave the ride home to chance. Make sure everyone gets home safely by planning how you’ll get home and following safe driving tips.
Attorney James Johnson, founder of Johnson Attorneys Group, says taking precautions won’t completely eliminate a person’s chances of getting involved in a collision, but it will reduce risks and increase the odds of coming home.
“I meet many of my clients at the worst time of their lives. They are either hurt themselves or they lost a loved one in a collision,” he said. “Over the years, I have found there are steps that can improve a person’s chances of surviving a collision or avoiding it completely.”
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says the Fourth of July is the deadliest day of the year when it comes to vehicle crashes. Labor Day is second and Memorial Day comes in third. Statistics show that the July 4th holiday had a total of 668 deaths or an average of 134 each year between 2016 and 2020. Why? Here are four reasons.
- More vehicles are on the road.
- More drivers are driving in areas beyond their regular commute.
- More people are using their cell phones while driving.
- More people have been drinking throughout the day.
Additionally, the IIHS reports that 50 percent of all fatalities in 2020 occurred between June 1 and October 31st and 49 percent of these crashes were over the weekend on either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Finally, some 45 percent of deadly crashes happen between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one-third of all automobile accidents are due to impaired drivers. Even if they don’t hit anyone directly, they cause wrecks. They drive erratically, speeding up and slowing down, swerving, weaving, and crossing into other lanes. Their times are diminished. Usually they’re drowsy from too much alcohol and often fall asleep at the wheel.
That’s why it’s so important to be especially defensive when driving home from your Fourth of July holiday.
Top 10 tips to help you get home safely:
- Avoid Driving and Stay Close to Activities
Attend activities that are close to home to avoid driving as much as possible. If you do head out of town, consider staying overnight with relatives, friends, a motel or campground and drive home the following morning.
- Leave Your Motorcycle at Home
Motorcyclists are vulnerable over this busy weekend. If you can, leave the bike at home and drive your car, take a rideshare or public transportation if possible. Motorcyclists are at particular risk over the Fourth of July weekend due to increased traffic, drunk and drugged drivers and distracted drivers. If you must drive your bike, wear a regulation helmet and protective clothing, and avoid the busiest times of the day.
- Go Home Early
Arrive at activities early and leave early on the Fourth of July. This helps to avoid traffic and impaired drivers, making it the safest way to get home.
- Wear a Seat Belt
Statistics show the safest way to travel in a vehicle is with a seatbelt on.
- Don’t Use Your Cell Phone While Driving
Keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road at all times. Most accidents could be avoided if the drivers were paying attention. It’s a fact that talking or texting on your cell phone while driving also is dangerous. Even hands-free cell phone use can be distracting.
- Avoid Tailgating/Maintain Safe Distances
Drivers who stay several car lengths behind other motorists are better prepared to avoid a rear-end or other collisions. The more space between vehicles allows a driver to spot erratic driving and avoid a collision.
- Be Cautious at Intersections
A huge number of crashes happen at intersections when motorists drive through a red light or make turns in front of oncoming vehicles. Impaired drivers are not the only ones who don’t obey traffic signals and signs. Holiday weekends are a good time to be vigilant and enter an intersection with caution. Never assume the other drivers are going to stop, even if they appear to be slowing down.
- Appreciate Police DUI Checkpoints
The holiday weekend is often a time when states and municipalities set up police DUI checkpoints. These police officers gave up their holiday to look out for the safety of others and their actions will likely save lives. Be the one who drives through sober.
- Designate a Driver
Whether you volunteer to be the designated driver at parties or other establishments or you schedule an Uber or taxi service to get him. Stick to your plans and don’t drink and drive under any circumstances. Consider the alternative if you drive home impaired and hurt yourself or someone else.
- Never Drink and Drive
The price of a taxi, Uber, Lyft or for a hotel room to avoid drinking and driving is worth every penny spent. Human lives are priceless. Also, if that isn’t enough to deter a driver, consider the fact that a DUI costs a driver upwards of $10,000 for the first offense. The penalties increase for second or third offenses including the loss of a driver’s license and jail time.
Please share this information with anyone you think needs to hear it and have a safe and happy Fourth of July. — Johnson Attorneys Group — 1-800-235-6801.
- Iaan Michael Lee Pedestrian Accident 15 Freeway, Roy Rogers Drive - February 26, 2024
- Jaime Munguia Fatal Pedestrian Accident Main Street in Hesperia - February 26, 2024
- Thousand Palms Crash Varner Road and Boca Chica Trail - February 26, 2024