Insurance claim data from the Travelers Companies, Inc., indicate that July Fourth is the most dangerous summer holiday in terms of car accidents. Compared to the other two summer driving holidays, Memorial Day and Labor Day, the insurance company found accidents to be 7 percent higher on the Fourth and the three days leading up to it.
Moreover, in 2012 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found the Fourth of July holiday weekend to be, on average, the deadliest day of the summer for drivers.
“The Fourth of July is one of the busiest times on the roads, which means there are more drivers who may be distracted, tired or driving unfamiliar routes,” said a spokesperson for Travelers, which compared data from 2012 to 2016 to make the comparison.
To stay safe, Travelers recommends taking a few extra steps before hitting the road:
A cellphone is not enough. Stock your car with an emergency roadside kit containing a flashlight, jumper cables, reflective triangles, road flares, food, comfort items like sunscreen and blankets, and a first aid kit.
Is the “check engine” light on? Take your car in before your trip for all scheduled maintenance. Inspect your spare tire to make sure it’s usable if you have a flat.
Familiarize yourself with the route. It’s hard to pay attention when you’re focused on your GPS or trying to read a map while you drive.
Take a break! If you’re traveling a long distance, rest and breaks help you focus and avoid highway hypnosis.
Limit the distractions. A little music is one thing, but everything that takes attention adds up. Too much distraction and you could become a menace on the road.
Never, ever drink/use drugs and drive. If you’re planning to consume alcohol or use another legal intoxicant, make a plan in advance so you know you won’t have to drive. Designate a sober driver or get a ride from Lyft or from public transportation.
Also, watch out for other drivers on the road who may not have planned in advance. Stay safe this weekend!