Not that you need any more doom and gloom in your life, but we have to tell you some bad news: Experts are predicting that this Fourth of July weekend could be the deadliest in years for drivers. The National Safety Council estimates that as many as 409 Americans will be killed on the road during the long weekend, with another 49,500 injured. If those unfortunate statistics pan out, that would be the highest tally for a Fourth of July since 2008.
“Drivers always need to be vigilant, but this weekend, focus on the safety of your family,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “A few precautions can help ensure a memorable weekend. Spending the holiday with family is preferable to spending time in the ER.” Contributing to the high estimates this holiday? The fact that the 4th falls on a weekend, and summer weekends are especially deadly. The National Safety Council reports that six of the 10 deadliest nights of 2013 were Saturday nights in the summer. In other words: This Fourth holiday could be the perfect storm. We’ll help you deal, whether or not you can avoid the road.
Ways to Avoid Driving
1. Uber & Lyft
When in doubt, you can always leave the driving to someone else all together. Uber suggests customers forget the keys and focus on the fireworks by taking a pledge to designate a non-drinking driver over the weekend. And if your DD happens to be someone you pay who’s available at your beck and call and saves you from having to deal with parking at the fireworks show—all the better, right?
2. Avoid driving on July 3rd and 7th
This idea from Garmin makes sense for avoiding traffic and staying safe alike: “Try to avoid driving on July 3 and 7. With many travelers taking advantage of the long weekend, it’s no surprise that the largest share (32 percent) will depart on Wednesday, July 3. The most popular return date (38 percent) is Sunday, July 7, according to AAA Travel.”
3. Host a Party at Your Place
It’s a straightforward idea, but take a look around—do you have the kind of property that could serve as a perfect 4th of July soiree location right in your own backyard? Could you have your friends bring side dishes and use your shared apartment grill—or pool?
How to Stay Safe on The Road
If you do have to drive, you’ll want to turn your vigilance up a notch this weekend. Some specific tips:Make sure to use a dependable GPS.
- Make sure all passengers are buckled correctly, that children are strapped safely in car seats and that pets are being transported the correct and safe way.
- See what streets in the area you are traveling to are predicted to be the most heavily packed on the 4th and try to avoid them.
- Pay attention while you are driving.
- Make sure to use your roadway manners—being impatient is unsafe.
- Make sure to get enough sleep; [drowsy driving](https://www.thezebra.com/insurance-news/1530/five-signs-youre-too-tired-to-drive/) is dangerous driving.
- Recognize and avoid impaired drivers: Do not try and pass them; instead keep a safe following distance from them. If you have a passenger with you, have them report the license plate number to the police.
- If you were drinking the night before make sure you are 100% sober to drive the day after your Fourth of July festivities. If you are not certain, don’t take a chance.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle