We Americans love to celebrate our freedom on Independence Day. It’s a great time of going to parades and carnivals, getting together with friends, watching fireworks, and relaxing at the local bar or at a picnic or backyard grill.
Unfortunately, the United States Department of Transportation states that the 4th of July is also the deadliest holiday on American roads due to drunk driving, speeding, and other related factors. This is easy to understand when you consider the celebratory nature of the holiday and the fact that it takes place during some of the best weather of the year. Some people simply consume too much and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides additional data about the 4th of July and motor vehicle accidents. The agency states that an average of 118 people lose their lives in car, truck, or motorcycle accidents each year on July 4. This statistic has held true for at least the past five years. Independence Day ranks first ahead of New Year’s Day for the number of deadly crashes. More of the fatalities occur among people on motorcycles as well. The agency states that nearly half of all Independence Day fatalities involved the over-consumption of alcohol or drugs.
How to Keep Yourself Safe on the Road During the Summer Holidays
Whether you celebrate right here in Colorado Springs or you drive across the state you may run into some trouble. There are things you can do to decrease your likelihood of becoming a July 4th accident statistic. The first and most obvious one is not to drink alcohol or use any type of drugs if you’re going to be driving. This includes not taking more than the recommend dose of prescription drugs. Here are some other holiday driving tips that we recommend at Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law:
- Obey the posted speed limit: Traffic congestion over the 4th of July holiday is worse than nearly any other time of the year. This can cause you to feel tempted to speed when given the opportunity, but saving a few extra minutes is never worth jeopardizing safety.
- Inspect your car before starting your road trip: If you plan to do any long-distance driving, it’s a good idea to make sure that your car is as safe as possible. At a minimum, check the pressure and tread of your tires and make sure that your brakes, engine, seatbelts, and airbags work well. If you’re close to needing an oil change, go ahead and get it done before the trip.
- Drive during the day if possible: Early morning during a holiday week is the best time to drive since there’s usually fewer people on the road. If that won’t work for you, aim to make your trip in the middle of the day. Driving at night always comes with reduced visibility and headlight glare. However, it’s much more likely you will share the road with drunk drivers the later you’re out driving yourself.
- Make sure that you have emergency back–up: Cars tend to break down at the worst possible times. If your car overheats due to sitting in traffic too long or you just can’t get started, it’s important to have equipment with you so you can deal with the issue promptly. We recommend packing road flares, jumper cables, a flashlight, and a spare tire for starters. Additionally, don’t forget to pack and keep a first-aid kit in your car.
- Report reckless drivers: If you notice other drivers speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, or engaging in other dangerous driving behavior, pull over as soon as you can and call 9-1-1- to report it. Never make a phone call while you’re operating a vehicle.
Call Us if You Find Yourself in Legal Trouble
People don’t always exercise the best judgment over a long holiday weekend. If you’re charged with DUI, a traffic misdemeanor, or a felony crime, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You can contact Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, at 719-473-9099. We are conveniently located in Colorado Springs and offer a free initial case review.