Independence day is just around the corner, and Americans traditionally celebrate the Fourth of July with a fervor. For most people, that means attending parades, traveling long distances to favorite family vacation spots, visiting friends for a barbecue and heading out to catch the local fireworks display.
Unfortunately, all of that national exuberance is tempered by the knowledge that the Fourth of July is the deadliest day of the year to be on the road. It makes sense: The presence of more cars than usual on the road leads to more traffic congestion in the first place, which raises the odds of a wreck. Add in the fact that a lot of people spend part of their holiday drinking and you have the perfect recipe for a disaster.
What, if anything, can you do to protect yourself and your family this holiday? If staying home isn’t really an option, consider these tips:
- Plan your travel carefully. The roads are most congested on the holiday between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Ideally, you want to be wherever you are going well before the traffic gets thick and head home again fairly early. The later you’re on the road in the evening, the more likely you’ll encounter a drunk driver.
- Give other drivers more space. You want plenty of room between you and the next guy, just in case that guy has been drinking. Keep a greater following distance than normal so that you can watch for erratic drivers.
- Don’t take chances. Wear your seatbelt and put away your phone. If your passengers are being boisterous, tell them to settle down. Don’t run an intersection when the light is yellow and don’t jump the red light because you’re in a hurry.
No matter how cautious you are as a driver, there’s always going to be someone else out there who isn’t. If you end up in a wreck caused by someone else’s foolish mistake, find out what you need to do so that you can recover your losses.