The Fourth of July is always a fun and exciting celebration every summer, complete with good times amongst family and friends, a great BBQ, and exhilarating fireworks. But the Fourth of July also remains a very dangerous time of year for several reasons. Studies show that the Fourth of July time period is one of the most dangerous during the year. We all must use our heads, some common sense, and a bit of good judgment to avoid injury to ourselves and others.
This year, especially because so many of us were pent up in the house during the pandemic, travel is expected to explode this weekend. Indeed, the travel industry is expecting a frenzy of activity this weekend. Travel association AAA estimates that approximately 47 million Americans will travel between July 1 and July 5, and the volume of automobiles on the roads may reach all-time high records.
The number of vehicles on the road, coupled with distracted driving, speeding, and increased drunk driving, spells danger for those on the highways. “In fact, the Fourth of July was the deadliest day on American roads between 2014 and 2018 with 660 road fatalities, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.” It is imperative that proper safety measures are taken while driving during Fourth of July weekend, if you indeed have to get in a car. As almost 50% of fatal car accidents from 2008 to 2017 resulted from drunk driving, AAA suggests driving early or when it is still light out so there is more visibility and drunk drivers are less likely to be on the road.
Fireworks are also a dangerous and common cause of many injuries on Fourth of July. In fact, many may not realize that one of the most dangerous fireworks are sparklers – those fun fireworks many children play with. Sparklers may seem relatively safe, but they can burn at about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit – which is almost four times your oven temperature when you bake bread. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 15,600 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2020 for fireworks-related injuries – and the percentage of injuries and deaths from fireworks increased 50% from 2019 to 2020.
So, as we continue to celebrate the summer and leave the pandemic in the rearview mirror this Fourth of July weekend, we urge everyone to stay safe out there and enjoy the opportunity to gather with family and friends.