Every year during July, we take a moment to celebrate the founding of our great country. Whether you like to delve into the history of the Declaration of Independence or hit the beach with a blanket to get a prime spot for fireworks, the Fourth of July presents us with an opportunity to enjoy or freedom and to be thankful for those who worked hard and sacrificed to secure it for us. Regardless of how you chose to celebrate, there is a black cloud that hangs over the holiday that we should all be aware of.
Fourth of July weekend is consistently the deadliest weekend in regards to automobile accidents. With school out for summer and millions hitting the road, it’s time to brush up on some driving safety tips.
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Fourth of July Driving Tips
1. Make a Plan
In Florida, it’s no secret that July temps are often searing. Combined with a beer or two at a barbecue, and you have a possible recipe for disaster. That small buzz may not feel substantial, however, buzzed driving is drunk driving. A couple of beers on a hot day can inhibit your decision-making skills and hamper your reflexes. So what do you do?
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of holiday car accidents. If you’re planning on having a few cold ones or some special holiday-themed cocktails, make sure you are eating plenty of food and drinking water. Consider riding to a party with a designated driver calling a Lyft when it’s time to head home. Alternatively, check to see if you can spend the night with your host. Driving drunk doesn’t just put you at risk, it threatens the lives of everyone else on the road.
2. Wear a Helmet
While helmet use is not required by Florida law, wearing a helmet is proven to reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury, the leading cause of death for motorcyclists in traffic accidents.
3. Put Down the Phone
While your friends may want your latest ETA, your safety is more important. Wait until you have stopped your vehicle before answering any texts. Consider turning the sound off so you aren’t distracted by notifications as you drive.
4. Talk With Your Teens
If you have older kids who will be celebrating with friends, make sure to talk to them about safe driving and avoiding alcohol. Teens may be tempted to experiment with alcohol during the summer. Tell them what your expectations are and let them know they can always call you if they need a ride.
5. Prep Your Vehicle
If you’re driving a longer distance this holiday, make sure to check the air in your tires. If possible, take your vehicle in for a quick check-up to ensure everything is working as it should. Replace worn-down windshield wipers and check your fluid levels.
Have a Happy Fourth of July!
Plan to play it safe this Fourth of July. If you’ll be drinking, make sure you know how you’re getting home. If you’re hosting, check with your guests. If you’re hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is road ready and stay alert.
And if you do want to reacquaint yourself with the Declaration of Independence, you can view a copy of the text at the website for the National Archives. (You can even have your kids sign a copy.)