When people think of 4th of July, they think of backyard BBQs and fireworks – the last thing they think of is traffic accidents. But according to the National Security Council, this holiday is one of the deadliest times to be on the road. Since most Americans out celebrating Independence Day, a lot of drivers usually feel more “loose” especially if they are under the influence. The odds of colliding with another vehicle significantly rise as there are more drivers on the road during holidays.
One study by National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) found that more people die in drunk driving car accidents in July than in any other month. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also concluded that 4th of July is the most dangerous day to be out on the roads.
The IIHS chalks up the DUI and motorcycle crashes to the increased rate of driving fatalities on the 4th of July. But there are additional factors that make Independence Day especially dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists, bikers, and drivers alike.
12 Ways To Stay Safe On Roads This 4th of July
To avoid getting injured in an accident or getting a ticket that could affect your vehicle insurance, here are some tips:
Wear Your Seat Belt
It is the most basic rule of driving a car but still needs to be mentioned. Wearing a seat buckle can mean the difference between life and death in a vehicle collision. Regardless of how far you’re traveling, never forget to buckle up when you are in a moving vehicle, especially when you know the roads will be busy.
Even if you never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can’t be sure that other drivers have not done the same. If you are driving to or from 4th of July festivities, use defensive driving tactics to give yourself plenty of time to react to reckless drivers.
For example, if you notice another vehicle switching lanes or swerving in a haphazard manner, put as much distance between your vehicles as possible. Meanwhile, if there is another passenger in your car, have them call the local non-emergency police number to report the erratic driving. Or you can wait until you’re no longer driving to make the call.
You can help the cops track down drunk and dangerous drivers by reporting their license plate numbers. If you don’t have those details, you can still do your part by providing them the make and model of the car.
Avoid Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs
One report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimates that over 300,000 people get injured each year due to drunk drivers. In the majority of accident cases around the 4th of July weekend, alcohol is a factor. The best way to avoid putting yourself and others at risk is to drive after you’ve had a few drinks. If you know that you will be drinking alcohol to celebrate the day, either use a taxi or public transport or have a designated sober driver who will drive you home.
Account for Additional Traffic and Travel Time
4th of July is one of the biggest national holidays, so naturally, millions of people and families spend this weekend either going on a vacation or visiting friends and family members. This means there is bound to be more traffic on the road, as usual, resulting in greater travel times for everyone who is on the road.
If you have plans to get out of town for the weekend, make sure you account for the extra time it could take you to get somewhere. You don’t want to be in a hurry and feeling like you need to speed to reach your destination on time. By planning ahead, you won’t be tempted to disobey the speed limits.
Check Your Vehicle
Check your vehicle’s brakes, tires, lights, windshield, and fluid levels on a regular basis, especially if you haven’t used it much over the last few months. Get your car tuned up if within 500 miles of the next service interval. Also, consider checking under the vehicle’s hood and wheel wells to ensure no small animals have made it to their home during the shutdown. This will reduce your risk of a New York car accident on July 4th.
Pack Food and Supplies For Your Trip
If you have small kids, you should definitely stock up on enough snacks, CDs, DVDs, and even a first-aid kit for the trip. Pack up anything that will keep your young ones entertained throughout the journey; bored kids can be hard to deal with in an enclosed vehicle! Don’t forget to pack bottled water and flashlights as well. Depending on where you are traveling to, it might be a great idea to pack a blanket too.
Use a GPS Navigation System
Almost every phone has a GPS system these days. Use it to map your route and find the most efficient way to reach your destination. The GPS will also forewarn you about traffic conditions on the road ahead. If traffic is backed up on a road due to an accident, the GPS will let you know that as well. If you’ve never traveled in that particular direction, another handy GPS feature is that it points you towards the nearest gas stations and rest stops along the way.
Check the Load Capacity of Your Vehicle
You can probably find the loading capacity indicator of your vehicle on the driver door’s inside the frame. Check it to make sure you don’t overload it. Weigh your packed luggage and supplies, and then add that to the weight of all the people who will be traveling in the car. This will help you stay within the recommended load limit of your car.
Do Not Get Distracted While Driving
There is a reason why texting while driving is illegal in 48 states; using your phone while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. But texting is not the only way you can be distracted. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people were killed in road accidents in 2017 involving distracted drivers. This included drivers who were engaged in texting, talking to other passengers in the car, adjusting the radio, and eating.
Follow the Traffic Signs
A critical driving tip – whether it’s a holiday or not – is to follow all road traffic signs. As we have already covered, there is a lot of traffic on roads during 4th of July weekend, and navigating it calls for a lot of patience. Be prepared for some delays during your trip as the roads will be busy. It might be tempting to drive over the speed limit but remember, speeding is one of the major factors that contribute to vehicle crashes.
Keep An Emergency Aid Kit in Your Vehicle
Your emergency kit should have items like a tire-repair kit, flares, blanket, bottled water, non-perishable food items, maps, battery-powered radio, fire extinguisher, and flashlights. You simply never know when you may come across an emergency during your trip where these things might come in handy. Also, consider leaving early to avoid feeling anxious about reaching your destination. Turbulent traffic conditions or weather can change the road conditions, so having a buffer for delays will give you peace of mind.
Secure Your Pets
If you are planning to travel with your dog, cat, or any other kind of pet, buy an animal cage or harnesses to secure them. Unbound, unsecured animals can cause a huge distraction for the driver and increase the risk of a car accident.
There are several harnesses and cages available in the market that will keep your pet extremely comfortable during the trip. If you will be traveling with multiple passengers and think that one of them will be able to hold on to the animal – that will not work. Like, little children, animals can squirm a lot in enclosed space, making them difficult to control.
What Legal Support Is Available After A Car Accident in New York?
Planning ahead and prioritizing safety can go a long way when it comes to minimizing your risks of getting involved in a car crash. Of course, they won’t completely eliminate the risks, especially during the holidays when more people are on the roads. In case you or someone you love has been either hurt or involved in a vehicle accident, keep calm, and follow these steps:
Get A Free Case Evaluation By Leading Car Accident Attorneys in New York
At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we want you to stay safe on the roads this 4th of July weekend. If you or someone you know was involved in a vehicle collision or suffered injury due to someone else’s reckless behavior over the Independence Day weekend, contact our New York auto accident attorneys right away.
Our highly skilled team of car accident attorneys can help you recover the maximum possible compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages, future medical treatment and rehabilitation, and pain and suffering. Call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 212-344-1000 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.
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