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Celebration is as American as, well, the 4th of July. But, with our celebrations are added risks when it comes to driving. According to a study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, the 4th of July is the most dangerous holiday of the year to drive. There are 144 driving-related fatalities on average every year over the 4th of July holiday. So, it’s important to be extra vigilant when traveling to and from your Independence Day gatherings.

What would those parties and picnics be without beer, wine coolers, and other refreshing alcoholic drinks? It appears that’s what many people think when they plan their July 4th activities. When you’re out in the hot sun, it’s tempting to guzzle extra beverages, and if those ice-cold drinks are laced with alcohol, you could be in trouble. Even if you are a teetotaler, if you’re driving, you may be faced with dealing with other drivers who are definitely not. So, drink with moderation and allow plenty of time for the effects of any alcohol you consume to wear off before you get behind the wheel. Or, designate a driver who doesn’t plan to drink at all. And whoever does drive needs to be conscious of the other drivers on the road who may not have been as responsible with their alcohol consumption.

Traffic increases over the 4th of July holiday, and more traffic means more chances for collisions. Whether you’re traveling a long distance to spend the time with Aunt Sally & Uncle Bert or driving across town to join the picnic at your church, expect more congestion out on the roads. And remember, the most dangerous time of the day is when people are headed to or from one of the many fireworks displays offered all around the metroplex. By that point, people have already been celebrating for hours and are more likely to be inebriated. In addition, the sun is either going down or has already disappeared over the horizon, and the added shadows and cover of night make it more difficult to see.

Not only is there extra automobile traffic, there is added foot traffic as well. It seems there are people along the roadways everywhere, and it’s important to be on the lookout for pedestrians darting across the road to get to the ideal fireworks-watching spot. Add to that the fact that you, as the driver, are probably looking for the best place to park and watch the display yourself, and you have a real recipe for disaster.

And don’t forget the added problem of drivers watching the fireworks from their cars—either while driving or while pulled over on the side of the road in areas not designated for that purpose. Some of the best places to see fireworks may be along our expressways and tollways, but it is dangerous to pull over on stretches of roads not designed for that purpose. Watch out for drivers slowing down either to stop along the side of the road or to get a better view of the fireworks while they’re driving. And don’t be one of those drivers yourself!

Here at Accident and Injury, we hope you have a happy, safe Independence Day. And if you are in an accident, please come to the Accident and Injury Chiropractic clinic near you. We’ll help you get back out there for the next American holiday celebration.