July 4 Safety: Leave the Driving and Fireworks to the Nondrinkers
The lead-up into the Independence Day holiday has become a time of vacations, of beach outings, and of barbecues.
It’s also a pretty popular time to drink. MoneyGeek forecasts that there will be several DUI-related fatalities in the week that leads up to Independence Day. (It adds that New Year’s Day typically ranks higher for such incidents.)
According to the National Beer Wholesalers Association, beer sales are highest over the July holiday too.
Some folks might enjoy tossing back a cold one, but too much alcohol can lead to a number of problems. Two such risky behaviors include driving under the influence and using fireworks.
If you’re driving to and from a destination and plan to drink, getting behind the wheel while compromised could lead to a number of problems, anywhere from troubles with the law to a deadly accident.
Here are some tips to enjoy a safer road trip:
- Designate a driver. Choose one person who will abstain or stop drinking early so the drive home is a safe one.
- Have a plan. If drinking is going to happen, be sure to have someone you can call to pick you up, or consider a rideshare.
- Buckle up. No matter what, wearing your seatbelt will make your drive home more safe and secure.
- Don’t be distracted. Leave the phone alone and keep your eyes on the road. That extra attention you pay could be lifesaving, especially if you encounter other drivers who are under the influence.
Not everyone is wild about fireworks (pets, babies, veterans, and individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] often could do without them), but they’re nearly impossible to avoid around Independence Day. There are ways to make them safer, however.
- Follow your state, city, county, or community’s rules on when you can shoot off fireworks (that includes dates and times) and make sure that the explosives are legal.
- Follow the directions for maximum safety (to yourself, others, and anything else flammable), and ignite fireworks in wide-open areas.
- Don’t make your own fireworks; that could be asking for trouble.
- Don’t relight or handle the firework any further if it’s a dud and doesn’t appear to be working. The fuse could be slow and a second spark could prove explosive. Let the firework sit for 20 minutes, then drop it in a bucket of water.
- Don’t drink and handle fireworks or sparklers. Sparklers burn hot enough to cause third-degree burns. Alcohol clouds judgment and slows reaction time, neither of which is good for handling explosives.
Alcohol may be a big part of many American holiday traditions, but it’s also at the root of many preventable deaths and injuries within the United States. Practicing moderation or abstinence could help save lives and preserve health.
moneygeek.com – 2021’s Most Dangerous Days for DUIs
vinepair.com– America’s Top Beer-Drinking Holidays, Ranked
prevention.com – 12 Home Fireworks Safety Tips to Prevent Serious Burns and Injuries This Summer
atf.gov – Fireworks Safety and Security
sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – The Sobering Truth: National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week
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