We're heading into the busy July 4th holiday weekend, with more than 42 million people expected to take road trips according to the American Automobile Association's holiday travel forecast. The most congested times on the road are expected to be Thursday 2-8pm and Friday 12-9pm.
The July 4th weekend is typically one of the most dangerous driving holidays of the year. The non-profit National Safety Council estimates 462 people may lose their lives on U.S. roads over the 2022 Independence Day weekend, in crashed that could be prevented. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic deaths on U.S. roads are the most dangerous they've been in 16 years, hitting a 16-year high in 2021.
"On a typical day, more than 100 people die on our roads, and that number is climbing," said Mark Chung, executive vice president, roadway practice at NSC. "Please take safety personally and follow our safe driving tips to ensure you get to where you want to go as safely as possible. Your life and those you love may depend on it."
The National Safety Council shares these safety tips with drivers:
- Buckle up: Lack of seat belt use is a top cause of fatalities in crashes. Buckle up, while also making sure you have appropriate car seats installed correctly.
- Designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation: Holidays are a cause for celebration, but alcohol is only one cause of impaired driving. Drugs, including opioids, marijuana and some over-the-counter medicines, can cause drowsiness, alter visual functions and affect mental judgment and motor skills.
- Slow down: Speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. Drive the speed limit or below it if conditions dictate. Be sure to pay close attention to those walking and biking in order to keep all road users safe.
- Prepare before you go: Before hitting the road, make sure your car is safe for driving. Vehicle owners should check the oil, put air in the tires, and check for and repair open recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to see if your vehicle has an open recall, and get it repaired for free.
- Drive distraction-free: Thousands have died in car crashes involving cell phone use. Put your phones away and #JustDrive.
- Look before you lock: Pediatric vehicular heatstroke is still the leading cause of non-crash motor vehicle-related fatality for children. Since 1998, the NSC says more than 900 children in the U.S. have died because of this completely preventable tragedy. Always check your back seat for children or animals when you reach your destination. (Many vehicles also now offer a rear seat reminder.)
Ahead of the July 4th weekend, the NSC is also releasing a new safety report Wednesday, June 29th. The NSC says Mobility, Technology and Safety: The Next 20 Years will announce new, traffic safety initiatives and calls on policymakers to take decisive action around the troubling trend of traffic fatalities. NSC says it will utilize the conclusions of this new report to identify, track, and advocate for priority actions for the federal government.
Photo Credit: Jose Luis Stephens/Shutterstock.com.