The National Safety Council calculations indicate 565 people may be killed on the road during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday period, and an additional 64,500 may be seriously injured in crashes. Department of the Navy historic records have also indicated that mishaps, especially fatal motor vehicle mishaps, spike during this time of year.
The council urges motorists to be particularly vigilant about impaired drivers and to designate sober drivers, themselves. The Council’s analysis shows during the 2017 Independence Day period, 39% of fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver, the highest percentage among all the major holidays. By sharing these estimates, the National Safety Council hopes to highlight the importance of being a safe, sober and attentive driver so that everyone can safely celebrate this holiday.
Drivers can take measures to protect themselves. Tips to ensure a safer holiday period include:
* Start the trip the right way:
TRiPS (Travel Risk Planning System - https://trips.safety.army.mil/)
* Practicing defensive driving; buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions
* Looking before you lock a vehicle to ensure no child is left behind in the back seat; at least 38 kids have died in hot cars this year
If you are heading to the beach, protect yourself. Sunlight increases the risk of skin cancer; limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15. Wear eye protection; use sunglasses with labels that indicate that they absorb at least 90 percent of UV sunlight. Wear foot protection: protect your feet from hot sand and broken glass.
Drink plenty of water regularly even if you do not feel thirsty. Watch for signs of heat stroke: Heat stroke is life threatening. Signs include hot, red, and dry skin; changes in consciousness, rapid, weak pulse, and rapid, shallow breathing. Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place. Cool the body by wrapping wet sheets around the body and fan it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, place them on each of the victim's wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels. Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down until help arrives.
While swimming at the beach, try to swim where a lifeguard is present. Do not swim near piers or breakwaters. The currents here may be very strong. Stay clear of boats; they take time to change direction, and they may not even see you. Swim parallel to the shore. If you swim out too far, you may be too tired to swim back. Open water is usually much colder than a pool, so do not swim out too far. Before going out on the water, make sure all occupants have personal flotation devices and know how to put them on, always be on the lookout for other boaters, Jet Skis, swimmers, NEVER drink, and drive while boating.
Before you fire up the grill, be sure to check your setup; keep your grill at least three feet away from structures and trees. Use starter fluid especially made for barbecue grills. Follow the instructions about how to apply and light it. Do not squirt starter fluid on a fire after you have already tried to start it. NEVER use gasoline to try to start or restart charcoal. Gasoline is incredibly explosive and dangerous. If you have a gas grill, make sure the valves work, the grease trap is clean and that you are familiar with the grill instructions. If your gas grill needs repairs, take it to an authorized dealer or repair shop. Store gas cylinders outside and keep them away from buildings. Keep children away from the grill while you are cooking, and after you finish. The grill will remain hot for hours and never leave grills unattended.
Remember, personal use of fireworks is illegal in the state of California and could result in a fire. Every year emergency room cases spike from injuries due to fireworks, they are illegal and dangerous.
As a final note, use Uber, Lift, Taxi or any other means available besides getting behind the wheel impaired. Refrain from texting while driving, buckle up and have a wonderful Independence Day.