The 4th of July is usually full of picnics swimming, boating, fireworks and parties. A perfect day! But after all that time in the sun we are ready to go home and knock out. Here are some 4th of July driving tips, so you can get home safely.
An important fact though, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that this day is the deadliest of the year when it comes to vehicle crashes. There are four reasons behind this scary statistic.
- More drivers are driving in areas beyond their regular commute.
- More vehicles are on the road.
- Most people are using their cell phones while driving.
- More people have been drinking throughout the day.
The number reported by the Centers for Disease Control is one-third. One-third of all automobile crashes are due to impaired drivers on this day. Even if they don’t hit anyone directly, they cause wrecks. Impaired drivers erratically, speeding up and slowing down, swerving, weaving, crossing into other lanes. This is usually caused by becoming drowsy from too much alcohol and at times, falling asleep at the wheel.
On days like this, it is important to be an aware and defensive driver when heading home.
Here are some 4th of July driving tips to help you do so:
- Stay where you are!
If it is possible for you to stay where you are, choose that option. Don’t drive anywhere if you don’t have to. If you are out of town celebrating the holiday, stay overnight at a hotel or campground, and drive home the next morning.
- Don’t ride your motorcycle
On days like this, you should drive your car instead. Even if you wear a regulation helmet and all of your protective clothing, you are still way more vulnerable to being involved in a crash than if you were in a car.
- Leave the party early
I know, no one wants to leave the fun so early, but leaving and driving home earlier is better. Here is why: the later you leave for home, the likelier you will encounter impaired drivers.
- ALWAYS wear your seatbelt
This should be a no-brainer, but during the summertime, people are more relaxed in their habits, including buckling up. So, don’t get too comfortable without it.
- NEVER text or use your cell phone while driving
Taking your hands and/or eyes off the steering wheel, even if for a second, is extremely dangerous. Just talking on the phone while you are driving is dangerous. People think that a hands-free device is safe, it isn’t. A cell phone is a distraction that we don’t need while driving. Even a hands-free phone call will distract you from what is behind, ahead and to the sides of you.
- Maintain safe following distances
Stay several car lengths behind the vehicle(s) in front of you. That way you will have a better chance at seeing erratic driving and be able to avoid its consequences.
- Be cautious when approaching intersections
Drivers who are impaired are not known for obeying traffic signals and signs. Be aware when coming to an intersection, noticing vehicles coming from cross streets or roads. Do not assume they are going to stop, even if it seems they are slowing down.
- Cooperate at checkpoints
During holidays many states set up checkpoints. Don’t be irritated if you come to one. Be courteous to the officers and produce your license and insurance card when asked.
- Be the sober designated drive
I like to call this person, “sober sister.” Whatever you choose to call the sober designated driver make sure you have one. If you volunteer to be the sober designated driver, keep your word, and don’t drink. Even a couple of beers can impair your driving ability. And we all know that once you start drinking it can be difficult to keep track.
- Don’t drink and drive
I know, I know, you hear it all the time. So do it! If you have had anything to drink and don’t have a designated sober driver to get you home, call a Lyft or Uber. It is well worth the price.