On Independence Day we celebrate the birth of our great nation and the best form of government that has even been invented — democracy. The holiday is a highlight of the summer and can be a lot of fun. But July 4th is also the most dangerous day of the year according to the National Safety Council. There are so many ways people can get injured. This blog and our commercial truck blog are always trying to keep people from being injured, so here are some useful tips about how to stay safe this weekend.
1. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles
Let’s start with the only cases we handle. There are more crashes over the July 4th weekend that at other times of the year. Sadly, 42 Texans lost their lives on July 4th or the day before last year in motor vehicle collisions. Here’s why.
- The combination of a long weekend, with more people driving to visit family or taking a road trip, and of course increased consumption of alcohol and drugs makes the next four days one of the worst times to be driving. Consider driving on the morning of the 4th and coming back Saturday or Monday. Take breaks. Don’t drive if you are tired or distracted.
- Millions of additional people will be traveling on our roads, many starting today and ending on Sunday. Most will be in a hurry. Texting while driving will increase, especially when people are checking their Google Maps. So drive extra cautiously.
- DWIs are always a horrible problem in Texas and get worse over any holiday period. The problem is so severe then that Texas law enforcement adopts “no refusal weekends” when a driver must consent to be tested for impairment and judges are on call 24/7 to issue warrants. One out of three fatalities are caused by DWIs. We have represented many people who wee injured in drunk driving crashes and know the devastation they inflict.
2. Defective grills/propane tanks
Back yard BBQs, picnics, and tailgating are holiday traditions for many Texans. What could go wrong? Plenty. Your grill might not be in good shape and strict safety procedures not followed and it flames can erupt. So take these steps:
- Check the grill for breaks in the tubing or bends that could stop the propane from flowing.
- Store the tank upright and away from sunlight. Do not leave it in your vehicle.
- If the propane goes out, wait 15 minutes to reignite it.
- Don’t use lighter fluid/charcoals.
- Don’t use inside, near another structure, or the are is not well ventilated.
3. Pools, water parks, and lakes
Especially if you have children, these are especially attractive and often hazardous. Here are ways how to stay safe when you are around water.
- Parents, make sure you never let your kids out of your eyesight. Small children must always have a personal flotation device, not a raft or noodle – or nothing. Don’t rely on lifeguards who may not be paying attention. Go with them down water slides and on other possibly risky rides or areas. Don’t let your kids run or horse play.
- Adults, even if you know how to swim, be on guard. Even we can drown.
- If you are on a boat, really watch out – there are far too many DWIs on our lakes.
What would the Fourth be without fireworks? We Americans love to watch them and often explode them ourselves. But there are too many burns and injuries that can result, so make sure you take these precautions:
- Let trained professionals put on the show. Here are the best places to watch fireworks in the DFW area.
- Beware of fire and home damage if you somehow must shoot them off from your house.
- Never reuse one you might think didn’t ignite. Spray it off with a hose or soak it in a bucket of water.
- Sparklers can burn at up to 2,000 degrees and should not be played with by kids. If one is dropped, don’t pick it up since you or the child might grab the wrong end.
- Don’t drink alcohol at the same time.
- Use lots of sunscreen and reapply it;
- Drink a lot of water and avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine intake to avoid dehydration. Signs are weakness, dizziness, muscle spasms, confusion, and passing out.
- Beware of heat exhaustion.
We hope you stay safe and have a great time celebrating our nation’s independence tomorrow and this weekend.