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The 4th of July is coming - which means fireworks, parades, barbecues, and pool parties. It also means increased chances of accidents, whether due to fireworks or DUI accidents. This holiday is supposed to be a fun day to celebrate the Declaration of Independence and summertime, and not stress about safety and not have to worry about accidents.  

As you light up the grill and stack up all your fireworks, consider these 4th of July safety tips so your family and friends can enjoy the holiday - safely. 

Why Take Precautions on Fourth of July 

The 4th of July is iconic for fireworks and barbecues, but the summer holiday is also notorious for accidents. Independence Day celebrations lead to one of the deadliest days to be driving on the road due to drivers under the influence.

The July 4th period saw over 601 deaths in motor vehicle accidents in 2017, with 39% of them due to drunk driving. Last year, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimated over 550 people would lose their life on the road and over 60,000 people would be seriously injured due to impaired driving during Independence Day.  

Car crashes are not the only accidents to blame for making Fourth of July potentially deadly. Although beautiful and dazzling to watch, fireworks are also responsible for plenty of injuries. Over 4,500 fireworks-related injuries took place between June 22 and July 22 in 2018, with Roman candles and bottle rockets among many of the guilty fireworks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, most injuries affect hands and fingers (28 percent of injuries), followed by leg injuries (24 percent), eyes (19 percent) and injuries to the head, face and ears (15 percent). 

Road Safety Tips & DUIs

Alcohol is responsible for drivers killed in Florida motor vehicles over 50% of the time. With more people drinking on this holiday as a whole, it’s more important than ever to take control of your safety this Independence Day and practice these tips to prevent car accidents and a DUI on the 4th of July.

Have a Designated Driver

If you plan on drinking, have a designated driver prepared to drive you and other people who are drinking to avoid a DUI on the 4th of July and putting you and others in danger. 

Drive Defensively 

Stay alert and drive attentively while on the road this holiday. Alertness is a major contributor to avoiding accidents simply because it is far easier to dodge and avoid them if you see them coming. By paying attention to your surroundings, you can anticipate other driver’s moves and work to avoid them if they are driving aggressively or erratically. 

Recognize Drunk Driving 

If you notice the car ahead of you driving erratically or slowly, they may be drunk. Watch out for drivers who are making unpredictable changes to their speed, weaving in and out of lanes, driving too slowly, overshooting or driving through a stop sign, or speeding.

If you notice a drunk driver, make sure to give yourself space between their car and yours. Call 911 and give the operator a complete description of the vehicle so they can be charged with a DUI and pulled safely off the road. 

Limit Distractions

Put your phone on silent and place it where you can’t reach it. Distracted driving is a major cause for deadly crashes. If you reach for your drink in the cup holder, you will miss that stop sign or the light you were not supposed to speed through. This can include more than just texting; using a GPS system, talking on the phone, and eating are all examples of distracted driving that can endanger you and everyone else on the road.  

Fireworks Safety

To stay safe from fireworks, the Red Cross recommends only to watch shows put on by professionals and to keep a 500 feet distance. If you do buy fireworks, it’s important to take precautions to prevent injuries or fires. 

  • Never light homemade fireworks.
  • Always light fireworks and sparklers away from you and others . 
  • Only light fireworks and sparklers in a dry area to prevent fires.
  • Light fireworks one at a time
  • Always light fireworks from the ground.
  • In case of emergencies, always have water buckets, hoses, or fire extinguishers nearby. 
  • Never try to relight fireworks that seem to be faulty. Soak the duds in water before throwing them away.

Remember, fireworks are illegal in some states. Check with your local laws first if you plan on buying your own fireworks. 

Keep your Pets and Family Safe

Independence Day is a time for all of the family to come together and celebrate. Many families take advantage of the hot weather to go boating and throw pool parties. If you have children, or if children will be present, make sure to set safety measures in place to prevent any accidents:

  • Set safety rules for children if boating or enjoying a backyard pool
  • Make sure little swimmers have proper flotation devices. 
  • Keep small children away from sparklers and fireworks. 
  • Keep children away from grills if barbecuing. 

July is notorious for hot weather and outdoor activities can make you susceptible to heat stroke and dehydration. Although anyone can suffer from heat stroke, the elderly are particularly at risk. If you have older relatives at your barbecues, watch for red skin, shallow breathing, and changes in consciousness. Move the person to a cool place and apply wet, cold towels to their skin while fanning them. Heatstroke can be serious, so call 911 and make sure the person is lying down and their airway is clear.

Pets are part of the family for many people, but there are certain precautions to take when bringing them to join in on Independence Day. 

  • Many pets do not like the loud noises of fireworks, so try to refrain from bringing them to fireworks displays.
  • Do not leave your pet inside a car by themselves. Cars can quickly overheat and pets can become scared by the loud noises and try to escape, potentially injuring themselves and damaging your vehicle. 
  • Do not leave your pet outside unattended during fireworks displays.
  • If your pet is especially frightened by loud noises, consult with your veterinarian before Independence Day. 

Additional Precautions to Keep in Mind

Other safety measures to remember for Independence Day can also be applied for the rest of the summer months as well. 

  • If you plan on being outside during daylight hours, make sure to wear sunscreen and hats to prevent prolonged exposure to damaging UV rays. 
  • Drink plenty of water and provide shade to prevent heat stroke and dehydration. 
  • Wear insect repellent if mosquitoes are an unwanted guest at your party. Let people know if there are any bees or wasps on your property.
  • Practice proper grilling safety if you are barbecuing. 

The team at Lowman Law Firm wants to wish you and your family a happy - and safe - 4th of July. We hope these tips will help keep you safe this summer season. 

Of course, accidents can always happen. Someone can slam into you no matter how safely you are driving. Be careful out there this holiday season, and remember what to do if the unthinkable should happen. If you are injured, you can call us and discuss your case with one of our compassionate DUI accident attorneys so you can get the compensation you deserve.

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