Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC

Fourth of July ranks among most dangerous holidays for driving

As we approach the Fourth of July weekend, many Americans are preparing to celebrate our country's independence. As people head to barbeques with family and friends, days at the beach or to watch one of many fireworks displays, staying safe on the road probably won't be a primary concern. Unfortunately, it should be.

Travelers are much more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident on a holiday weekend. In fact, Fourth of July weekend has an average of 308 fatal accidents per year, compared to an average of 250 on a non-holiday weekend. It is the third deadliest weekend, outranked only by Memorial Day and Labor Day as first and second, respectively.

July 4th is the single riskiest day for drivers

ValuePenguin determined the most fatal holiday weekends were determined by using fatality statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2011 to 2015. In addition to confirmation that holiday weekends are the most dangerous on U.S. roads, data analysis also revealed the following about July 4:

  • It is the single most risky day for deadly car accidents
  • It is the day where accidents are the most widespread in the U.S., with a primary concentration in the Southeast
  • It has the second highest percentage for drunk driving accidents

Causes of deadly holiday car accidents

A key in the prevention of deadly car crashes is to understand their potential causes. As mentioned previously, holiday celebrations can result in more people driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Additionally, people may be more likely to text while driving – especially to inform friends and family if they are running late.

More specific to the July Fourth holiday, there is a higher concentration of people on the roads heading to and from fireworks displays. This increases the chances that individuals are on the roads with uncorrected vision problems, such as issues with depth perception, peripheral vision and color recognition.

What you can do to stay safe

Although it is impossible to completely eliminate your risk for an accident on the roads this Fourth of July, other than avoiding going out completely, there are things you can do to decrease your risk.

  • Make sure you have safe and sober transportation to and from holiday celebrations
  • Refrain from texting or other cell phone use while driving. Pull over if you need to tell someone you are running late
  • Do not drive at night if you have any type of untreated vision problems. Wear prescription eyewear or anti-reflective glasses if needed
  • When traveling farther distances, take frequent breaks and use your headlights, even at dusk
  • Wear your seat belt and encourage all of your passengers to do the same

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