As people across the country pack up their cars and hit the road this Independence Day weekend, it is important to note the risks of driving on a holiday weekend.
This year, the National Safety Council estimates 374 traffic deaths will occur over the holiday period which extends from 6:00 p.m. Friday, July 1, to 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 4. Nonfatal medically consulted injuries, i.e. injuries serious enough that a medical professional was consulted, are estimated at 36,300.
If you are drinking, do not drive.
If you plan to drink, designate a non-drinking driver.
If there is a young driver in your family, strictly enforce a zero tolerance policy with alcohol. All states have a 21-year-old drinking age law.
Your best defense against a drunk driver is wearing your safety belt.
The National Safety Council advises the best way to safely enjoy this 4th of July is to watch a public fireworks display conducted by professionals. However, if fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to use them, be sure to follow these important safety tips:
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks. Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision.
- Light fireworks one at a time, in a clear outdoor area away from onlookers, houses and flammable materials.
- Do not aim fireworks at another individual and never place any part of your body over a firework.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire, and do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks. If you are in an area experiencing drought-like conditions, reconsider using fireworks due to the increase in fire risk.
- “Safe and sane” fireworks are neither. Fireworks and sparklers are designed to explode or throw off showers of hot sparks.
In 2007, drowning claimed the lives of 3,443 people. Although all age groups are represented, more than one in five drowning victims are children 14-years-old and younger.
- When visiting a pool, water park or body of water this weekend, pay close attention to children at all times. A lifeguard may be present, but they should not be considered a babysitter.
- Teach your children to never swim alone or dive into unknown bodies of water and to always use approved flotation devices.
Nice weather is ideal for celebrations but can present serious hazards, especially to children and the elderly.
- Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are serious, life-threatening illnesses characterized by an extreme rise in body temperature.
- If you are concerned that someone is suffering from overheating, move them to the shade and call for emergency assistance, if necessary.