How to Keep Your Family Safe on the Fourth of July

SparklersLast month, we compiled a list of firework shows and other fun Independence Day activities for you and your family to enjoy around Huntsville, AL. But it’s also important to stay safe at this celebratory time of year.

Not to bring down the excitement, but the Fourth of July is the deadliest holiday of the year. You might not think so, but this weekend has seen more traffic-related injuries and fatalities than any other weekend—even more than New Years Eve and New Years Day.

Watch Out for Drunk Drivers on the Road

Many of these accidents are caused by drunk or even buzzed drivers. In fact, from 2009 to 2013, roughly 40 percent of crash-related deaths during this holiday involved a drunk driver. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a total of 750 people died in crashes with drivers who had a BAC of .08 or higher.

If you are going to be out on the roads this Fourth of July weekend, it is crucial that you know the warning signs of a drunk or buzzed driver. Take this time to practice defensive driving, for your safety and the safety of those around you—it could save your life. Some tips to keep in mind include:

  • Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you
  • Brake early
  • Always use your turn signals with plenty of warning
  • Look both ways before turning into oncoming traffic
  • Look over your shoulder in addition to using your mirrors when changing lanes
  • Stay alert, and keep the distractions in your car to a minimum
  • Keep to the speed limit

If you are going to be the one behind the wheel, it is critical that you are well aware of your surroundings at all times. If you are going to drink, don’t drive. One drink is too many. Don’t put your life—or anybody else’s life—at risk.

Fireworks Are Dangerous, Too

Driving is not the only source of danger, though. The very things that make us “Oooh” and “Ahhh” are also extremely hazardous and can cause serious injury. According to the National Fire Protection Association, thousands of people—namely children and teenagers—sustain injuries from fireworks. In 2013 alone, roughly 11,400 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. And more fires are reported on this day in the U.S. than any other day.

If you are going to be setting off your own fireworks with your family and friends, please keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Keep young children away from the fireworks
  • Only light one firework at a time; any more than that and things can get out of hand
  • Don’t let someone who has been drinking set off the fireworks
  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby at all times
  • Follow the instructions on the firework packaging
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Do not make your own fireworks
  • Keep fireworks away from buildings
  • Make sure that spectators maintain their distance

No matter what you’re doing this holiday, please be safe. As personal injury attorneys, we at Martinson & Beason, P.C. urge you to celebrate responsibly so that you don’t wind up needing our assistance this Fourth of July holiday.

Photo Credit: ercwttmn via Compfight cc