Three of years ago the National Safety Council named July 4th the most dangerous holiday of the year. Alcohol is a big part of that: traffic deaths number in the hundreds, injuries approaching 50,000, and half of the crashes involve drinking. Of course, fireworks also account for some injuries.
How many drunk drivers will be out there? No one knows, but it might be in the millions, for a number of reasons:
- Beer. Independence Day is the biggest beer-selling holiday in the US, with sales of over $1 billion – that’s just for one holiday! Beers are inseparable from the outdoor grilling ritual. It’s inconceivable that some of those brews aren’t being drunk by people who will be driving home from the party.
- Distraction. Groups of revelers in cars, cellphones, and the aforementioned beer all contribute to a pretty crazy atmosphere in cars. That means that even if you’re focused on the road, the driver of the vehicle coming toward you might not be.
- Night driving. Parties go on for hours, and there will be many tired people heading home in the dark, even with the long summer days. Some of those drivers are on unfamiliar roads, so you might be faced with quick stops and dicey moves from people who don’t know exactly where they are.
The good news is that most of the things that make July 4th a dangerous holiday are avoidable. The last thing we want to think of on Independence Day is the prospect of getting hurt, so think about this checklist when you’re planning your July 4th driving:
- Buckle up
- Don’t drink before driving – be 100% sober
- Don’t speed
- Be extra vigilant of other drivers
- Avoid major thoroughfares where possible
- Reduce distractions in your vehicle