The first week of July is usually one of the busiest and deadliest U.S. travel times of the year. Many people use the holiday for driving vacations, resulting in many DUI citations and car wrecks.
The personal injury attorneys at Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton believe the vast majority of all car crashes involve some type of driver error. This means drivers can impact traffic safety during July 4th weekend by following safe driving tips:
- Maintain your car: Before driving a long distance, ensure your car is in working order. Get a tune up on tire tread and pressure, oil and fluid levels, lights, and windshield wipers.
- Buckle up: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seat belts save lives, reducing serious injuries and deaths by about 50 percent. Secure your children in properly fitted car seats.
- Don’t drink and drive: All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws making it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol content at or above the legal limit of 0.08. According to the CDC, a 12-ounce beer has around the same amount of alcohol as a 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce liquor. Drinking alcohol slows reaction time and impairs coordination and judgment. These are skills needed to drive safely.
- Follow speed limits: Leave early. Unexpected slow drivers, road construction, and poor weather will make you want to race, but speeders don’t get a prize.
- Stay awake: Take advantage of rest stops.
- Don’t get distracted: Do not do things in the car that take away your focus from the road. Do not text or use the cell phone while driving. Program a GPS before leaving or while stopped. Do not change the CDs, engage in conversations with a passenger, eat, comb your hair, or apply makeup while driving.
- Load your car, truck SUV or motrcycle properly: When loaded down with too much weight, vehicles become less stable. SUVs, in particular, have a high center of gravity, meaning that when there is too much or poorly distributed weight, the SUV can tip over.
- Drive cautiously on rural roads: According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more car wrecks happen on rural roads than other locations.
- Secure your pet: Secure cats and dogs in case of a sudden stop. A loose pet may crash through the windshield.
- Drive defensively: In a moment, a car crash can take away a life.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.