Car accidents traditionally increase during the summer months, especially during the holidays, when alcohol and long road trips are involved. When many people think of the 4th of July, they think of America's independence, cook-outs, family gatherings, road trips and fireworks. But what most people don't think of is road safety.
With July 3rd and July 4th being two of the deadliest days to drive, Insurance.com offers these Top Ten 4th of July Driving Tips.
- Check your tires. The last thing you want is your own "fireworks display" while on the highway. Check your tire pressure before you leave for a road trip. Low tire levels can potentially reduce fuel efficiency, as well as being a safety issue.
- Make sure your battery has enough juice. If it has been a few years since you replaced your car battery, you might want to do so before you leave on your 4th of July vacation. It is better to be safe than sorry when you are traveling far from home. If your battery is old, toss the jumper cables in the trunk before you leave.
- Turn on your lights. Check your headlights, tail lights and turn signals before you start a trip. To ensure everything is working properly, have a friend walk around the car while you test the car lights and signals from the inside.
- Pack a first aid kit and roadside assistance kit. While you're at it, consider packing a cooler of water, a flash light, non-perishable food and extra batteries. Make sure your cell phone has enough charge, and bring your phone's charger or extra battery along – just in case.
- Don't drink and drive. Whether you are at a cook-out close to home or traveling to see fireworks, drinking and driving don't mix. Play it safe this 4th of July with a designated driver or call for a cab.
- Buckle Up. Wearing seatbelts every time you drive is the easiest way to help keep you and your family safe in the event of an accident. If you are traveling with small children, make sure they are in a proper car or booster seat for their age group and height.
- Watch your speed. State and local police officers will be out in full force during the 4th of July week. So watch the local speed limits and keep a safe distance from the cars in front of you. A speeding ticket can mean points on your driver's license and a potential increase in your auto insurance rate.
- Don't let rain ruin your trip. Check the weather before you leave and during your trip. If you do get caught in a torrential downpour, pull off to the side of the road until the rain stops. And never drive through a flooded area. Try to find an alternative route – a slight delay beats being stranded in a flooded car.
- Think twice about fireworks at home. Even sparklers are dangerous and unpredictable when kids light them. While your home insurance may cover injuries, we suggest leaving fireworks to the pros.
- Pack proof of car insurance. Whether you are traveling close to home or out-of-state, you should always have your proof of car insurance in your wallet or glove box. If you don't have a cell phone or other portable device that takes pictures and video, it's a good idea to keep a disposable camera, note pad and pen in your car, just in case an accident occurs.
At Insurance.com, you can compare car insurance rates side-by-side, straight from top companies. Evaluating multiple quotes at once can help you save time and money on your auto insurance.
Looking for different information? Have questions or feedback? Please let us know.
Originally posted June 18, 2007.