July 4th is on its way, and for many families, that simply means that the time has come to prepare your pool, buy some fireworks, and get ready to enjoy patriotic celebrations with your friends and family. Unfortunately, many families find their hopes for a happy Fourth destroyed unexpectedly. July 4th is statistically the most dangerous holiday of the year. In 2016, thousands were injured or killed on this day alone—not even encompassing related incidents on the days immediately before and after the holiday. Here are two ways to make sure that your July 4th stays joyful and does not include any unanticipated trips to the emergency room.
During the July 4th season, the risk of driving drastically increases. According to the National Safety Council, almost 600 people were killed on the roads, and approximately 67,000 were seriously injured during the July 4th weekend last year. More people are on the road than usual, heightening the likelihood that someone’s vehicle error may have fatal consequences. Many of these drivers are traveling longer distances to visit family and friends who live far away, increasing everyone’s average time on the road and compounding the chances of an accident even further. As if these factors were not deadly by themselves, more people than usual are driving under the influence of alcohol. Almost half of the accidents during the July 4th holiday in 2017 involved alcohol.
To avoid an unexpected disaster while you are driving to a July 4th celebration with your family, there are a number of driving tips which you should keep in mind. Buckle up, and ensure that your passengers do so as well. 48% of all fatalities from car accidents in 2016 were people who were not wearing seatbelts, and the United States government estimates that 14,668 lives were saved by seatbelts. Also make sure that you never use your phone while driving, no matter how important your REALTOR® business call is! If you must absolutely must take a call, pull over and delegate the driver’s seat to a passenger so that you can use your phone without endangering anyone. A final way to keep yourself safe on the road is to avoid drinking and driving. If you plan on drinking alcohol, also plan on having a designated driver.
Use Fireworks Responsibly
Dangerous drivers are not the only threat you face on the Fourth of July. In fact, fireworks, one of the most enjoyable staples of any July 4th celebration, result in thousands of injuries each year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that, in 2016, there were 11,100 people seriously injured and even a few people killed as a direct result of fireworks. Not only are fireworks prone to random malfunctions, the slightest personal misuse can have disastrous consequences. In 2016, one person lost most of the fingers on his left hand when a reloadable mortar blew up unexpectedly in front of him. Another man tried to make his own fireworks and his kitchen exploded, demonstrating that the risks of fireworks extend to our property. Even house pets can be terribly injured or distressed by the blast. Many pets are fearful of the loud sounds which fireworks make, which can cause them to panic in the house and damage furniture, or even run away from home.
Keep fireworks fun and not fatal this July 4th by following these safety tips. For one thing, you may want to consider attending a professionally done fireworks display, as that would substantially cut down on the risk that something serious could go wrong. If you still desire to set them off at home, you can keep your family safe by preventing young children from lighting and igniting their own fireworks, make sure that they have adult supervision because even seemingly harmless fireworks can be very dangerous. Over 900 fireworks-related emergency room visits involved sparklers, 400 had bottle rockets, and 1,300 with firecrackers. Secondly, you should ensure that all of your fireworks are legal in your area. Never—Never—make your own fireworks! All but one of the firework-related deaths last year occurred when people set out to illegally craft their own fireworks. When lighting legally obtained, store bought fireworks, you should follow the instructions scrupulously and stand back at a safe distance to prevent potential harm from a random malfunction. Light them up somewhere that they can remain stable, so that they do not fall over and fly towards you.
Do not let these dangers prevent your family from having a festive celebration on the nation’s 242nd birthday! Keep your family safe this July 4th by driving safely and using fireworks responsibly. Even after the holiday is over, you can continue to benefit from these safety tips. Driving is dangerous even on normal weekdays, so do not get travel carelessly just because it is not a holiday. Fireworks, though they are at the height of their popularity on the 4th, are still used at family celebrations throughout the year. Take advantage of these safety tips and have a happy 4th of July!