The Fourth of July is the most dangerous of the three summer holidays for auto accidents, according to the Travelers Companies, Inc. According to the company’s personal insurance auto claim data from 2012 to 2016, there are 7 percent more auto accident claims over the Fourth of July and three days leading up to it, as compared to Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
“The Fourth of July is one of the busiest times on the roads, which means there are more drivers who may be distracted, tired or driving unfamiliar routes,” said Chris Hayes, second vice president of Risk Control Transportation at Travelers. “These situations combine to create a heightened risk for serious accidents, so it’s critical for drivers to be especially focused when behind the wheel.”
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Fourth of July holiday has ranked on average as the deadliest day for drivers for the past decade.
Before drivers set out to celebrate, Travelers recommends the following:
- Perform scheduled maintenance and inspections. If the “check engine” light is on or you have been delaying scheduled maintenance, take your car in for service before your trip. Be sure to inspect the spare tire to make sure it’s in good condition.
- Bring an emergency roadside kit. Stock your car with water and nonperishable food (like granola bars), a flashlight, a first-aid kit, jumper cables, reflective triangles, sunscreen, blankets, towels and road flares.
- Preview the route. Familiarize yourself with the route before leaving. Relying solely on GPS can lead to distracted driving, which may result in dangerous last-minute turns and lane changes.
- Avoid distractions. Everything that occupies your mind or affects your vision can contribute to distraction behind the wheel. Concentrate on the road and avoid distractions such as eating, reading maps, operating a GPS or using a cellphone.
- Take breaks. When traveling long distances, it’s important to rest to help maintain focus and avoid fatigue.
- Never drink and drive. Have a plan if you choose to consume alcohol, whether it’s using a designated driver, ride-sharing or public transportation.
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