Independence Day is many people’s favorite holiday. The weather is nice, the grill’s fired up, and everyone’s gathering to celebrate and watch fireworks. This year is likely to be even more highly anticipated, because many months have passed without the ability to get together for fun. If you’re planning on heading to a big party this July 4, we hope you have a great time. We also hope you stay safe, and develop a plan to keep others safe, before heading out.
Dangers on the Road Over Fourth of July Weekend
More people die from drunk driving over the Fourth of July weekend than any other weekend during the year. This sobering statistic would cause anyone to consider driving after having a few drinks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects data on crashes and accidents throughout the year. They also maintain data on the number of alcohol-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities that happen every year. The Fourth of July is one of the most dangerous weekends of the year to be on the road, and “812 people died in crashes involving drunk drivers during the Fourth of July holiday period from 2014-2018” NHTSA reported
This means that alcohol-based incidents were responsible for almost 1,000 deaths over Fourth of July weekends. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a huge risk, and one second of inattention can cause a fatal accident.
How to Prepare for the Fourth Safely
If you have plans for the weekend, you should also have plans for what to do if you are drinking. It’s a necessary part of responsible drinking. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you, and others on the road, stay safe:
- Provide non-alcoholic beverages — — if you are the host, this is especially easy. These are good to have on hand for any party. Many people don’t drink, and it’s also key to staying hydrated in hot weather. Alcohol can be very dehydrating. If you aren’t hosting, bring some water or soda as your contribution, just to ensure there is something you can drink that’s non-alcoholic.
- Choose a sober driver — NHTSA says that even if you’ve had just one drink, let someone completely sober take you home. It’s not worth the risk.
- Be the sober driver — if you don’t trust others at the party you’re attending to stay sober enough to drive, designate yourself as the sober driver. It’s one way to control your personal safety.
- Be alert on the road — if you are driving, make sure to be extra cautious on the road, as other drivers may not be as responsible as you. Take familiar routes if possible, and remove distractions if possible.
- Make arrangements for alternative rides — if you don’t have a sober driver, make sure you are prepared to make other arrangements. This includes rideshare companies, cab companies, and public transportation. Make sure you are aware of what’s available where you’re going, and that you have the appropriate apps or phone numbers handy.
Having a plan in place can prevent awkward conversations, and it also guarantees you will leave the party safely. Consider adding this step to your party preparations this year. This is true even if you only have a single drink, or two. NHTSA argues that buzzed driving is drunk driving, and in many cases this may be true. Although your blood alcohol content (BAC) may not rise above the legal BAC limit, it could still register high enough for other offenses like reckless driving. Additionally, many people have not celebrated in a while due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and may not know their own tolerance any longer.
Getting Through Fourth of July with an IID
If you have an ignition interlock device, it may almost be a relief, because the device simply won’t allow you to drive with alcohol in your system. However, there are some things you will want to avoid.
- Don’t let others take the test for you — this is considered tampering, and can result in serious consequences. Also, the device asks for random retests to ensure continuous sobriety.
- Don’t remove the device — some may try to remove or tamper with the device to bypass the test. Don’t. It will end up costing you both financially and potentially legally.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday! If you need help, Intoxalock customer support agents are available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email.