The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has been tracking car crash statistics for years, says the 4th of July almost always tops the list as one of the most dangerous holidays.
When most Americans think of the 4th of July, they often think of fireworks, cookouts and backyard get-togethers. However, End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) thinks about the week of July 4th as typically one of the busiest travel periods in the United States and warns everyone to drive safely and undistracted. The organization offers the following 10 tips for staying safe over the holiday:
- Before leaving, ensure that your vehicle is in good working order. Get a tune up; check tire tread and pressure, oil and fluid levels, working lights and windshield wipers, etc.
- Buckle up for safety. In the majority of accidents, seat belts save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about 50 percent. Adults who live in rural areas are 10 percent less likely to wear seat belts (78 percent usage) than adults who live in urban and suburban areas (87 percent usage). Also, secure your infants and children in properly-fitted car seats and booster seats.
- Don’t drink and drive. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws defining driving impaired as a crime with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above a specified level, currently 0.08 percent (0.08 g alcohol per 100 ml blood). According to the CDC, one 12-ounce beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. Drinking alcohol slows reaction time and impairs judgment and coordination, all skills needed to drive a car safely. The more alcohol consumed, the greater the impairment. If you drink, don’t drive or make friends with a designated driver who does not imbibe.
- Observe speed limits. Allow plenty of time to get to your destination. Most likely you will have to share the road with thousands of other drivers, road construction, and possible rain and summer storms. You’re not in a race. Speeders don’t win.
- Stay alert.Take a break when feeling drowsy. Take advantage of rest stops. Drive defensively.
- Put the distractions away.Don’t talk on your cell phone while driving. Worse, don’t text while driving. Both require focus. You can only do one well. Program your GPS prior to leaving or while stopped, never while driving. Ask your passenger to change the CDs. Comb your hair and apply makeup upon arrival at your destination never while driving. Don’t eat or open or close food packaging while driving. Other vehicles may be getting in your lane, turning, or slowing down. In-car distractions diminish your chances of driving defensively when you need to most. One or two seconds of distractions can negatively impact your life and the lives of others.
“Thousands and thousands die each year as a result of distracted driving on our nation’s highways,” said Attorney Joel Feldman, father of a daughter who was killed by a distracted driver. “The death toll rises dramatically during summer months, especially for young drivers. We can all make a difference if we just remember to keep our hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and stop trying to multi-task while we drive.”
- Load SUVs properly. When loaded down with additional weight—such as passengers, luggage, and equipment—SUVs become less stable. Compared to most sedans and station wagons, SUVs have a higher center of gravity. With the extra weight, which typically rides above a SUV’s center of gravity, the vehicle can tip over more easily.
- Drive cautiously on rural roads. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), more accidents occur on rural roads than other venues.
- Secure your pet.Most likely you wear a seatbelt. What about your dog? Cats and dogs should be secured in crates that are secured by straps or bungee cords in the event of a sudden stop. A loose pet or a hurling crate can crash through the windshield. Protect your 4-legged friends.
- Act like your life depends on driving defensively. It does.
“We at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday. We are available 24/7 should you need us, and there are no costs or attorney fees unless we make a monetary recovery for you,” said Fort Myers Car Accident Attorney Randall Spivey.
Fort Myers Distracted Driver Attorney is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.