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Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Halloween—no matter the reason or the season, Americans love holidays. But when the calendar flips to July, people across the country celebrate America’s Independence with picnics, parades, and barbecue cookouts. Travel is expected to reach near pre-pandemic levels Fourth of July weekend, with 47.9 million travelers and 42 million Americans taking to the roads, according to American Automobile Association (AAA). This represents an increase of nearly 3.7% compared to last year, bringing travel numbers similar to what was seen in 2019.
Even with national average gas prices going over the $5 mark, this isn’t stopping Americans from taking advantage and traveling. However, the sheer amount of car crashes that occur around July Fourth, making it the deadliest holiday of the year. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimated that 462 people may be killed on the road in July Fourth car crashes last year.
The organization defines the one-day holiday period as starting at 6 p.m. on July 3 and ending at 11:59 p.m. on July 4. In addition, the NSC estimates that 52,700 more people may be seriously injured in July Fourth car crashes. Because of the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 recovery is having on social activities, the uncertainty of this year’s estimate is increased.
Across the country, it’s estimated that more than 43.6 million people will drive somewhere to celebrate the Fourth of July in 2022. All across the nation, Americans pack up their cars and make trips to the beach, lake, or to family members’ houses with a pool. However, it is important to note that car travel has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile.
Fourth of July is America’s top beer-drinking holiday. During the holiday, beer sales top more than $1 billion each year when the holiday runs around. If beer isn’t your style, Americans spend another half-billion dollars on wine.
This excessive alcohol use was the cause of 41% of fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver, the highest among all the major holidays.
Stay Safe Through the July Fourth Holiday
While the NSC’s numbers are just an estimate, the organization is typically close to correctly guessing July Fourth car crash fatalities. The organization is predicting that there will be 462 lives lost over the July 4, 2022 holiday.
In 2016, unintentional injuries accounted for a record high of 161,374 fatalities. This number includes car accidents, making it the third leading cause of death in the United States. The predictions of medically consulted injuries, an injury serious enough that a medical professional was consulted, for the Fourth of July 2022 resulted from crashes is 52,700, with a 90% confidence interval of 41,000 to 65,3000. Fortunately, drivers can take measures to protect themselves during peak car crash periods.
To avoid July Fourth car crashes drivers should always:
Observe speed limits
Give yourself enough time to get to your destination without having to feel rushed. You will be sharing the road with thousands of other drivers, road construction, and any possible weather that you may need to drive through. You’re not a speed racer.
Practice Defensive Driving
The best defensive practice is wearing your seat belt. When worn properly, seat belts reduce the risks of death by 45 percent and cuts the risk of serious injury by 50 percent. When you begin your trip get plenty of rest to avoid fatigue. If you are feeling drowsy, take a break and take advantage of rest stops.
Put distractions away
Although it seems really repetitive at this point, it is important to put all distractions away when you are driving. This includes not using your phone for texts or calls when driving. Program your GPS prior to leaving or while stopped, never while driving. Have a passenger by in charge of the aux cord for the drive, and never comb or apply makeup while driving. In-car distractions diminish your chances of driving defensively when you need to most.
Recognize the Dangers of Drunk or Drugged Driving
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws defining driving impaired as a crime with a blood alcohol concentration at or above a specified level, current 0.08 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one 12-ounce beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. Drinking alcohol as we should all be aware of, impairs judgment and coordination, all skills necessary to drive a vehicle safely.
If you plan on drinking, designate a totally sober driver—zero drinks sober. If that cannot be arranged, then call a ridesharing service. Additionally, you should recognize the impacts of prescription opioids and other drugs have on your driving ability.
Fix Recalls Immediately
Getting vehicle repairs when your car is under recall is necessary to keep yourself, your family and others on the road safe. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to see if your vehicle is under recall.
Secure your pets
Make sure that all passengers are secured, including any pets you may have with you in the vehicle. Cats and dogs should be served in crates that are sacred by straps or bungee cords in the event of a sudden stop. A loose pet or a hurling crate can crash through the windshield. Protect your 4-legged friends.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
July Fourth car crashes can ruin your holiday. This is why staying safe on the roads this July Fourth holiday is extremely important. Additionally, drivers should drive cautiously and be aware of other drivers around them. However, if a tragedy strikes and you or a loved one suffer serious or fatal injuries in one of these auto accidents over the holiday, contact The Carlson Law Firm. Our team of experienced and dedicated attorneys is ready to help you and your family.