5 Major Dangers of the 4th of July


As we all get together for a good barbecue, patriotic-colored cupcakes, and fireworks, it’s easy to forget that July 4 can be a pretty dangerous day.

We need not forget about the independence of our country, but let’s try not to blow our leg off with fireworks, you know?

Here are 5 common dangers that happen every July 4 (and how to steer clear of them).

Danger #1: Car Accidents

Whenever there’s a holiday, you know that a lot of America’s adults are drinking. Combine that with how many families are travelling on this day, and there’s a quick recipe for disaster.

In fact, July 4th has been called the deadliest day to drive, according to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. On average, 148 people die in car accidents on July 4, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 51% of those crashes are related to alcohol.

If you want to make sure you’re safe, travel the day before or after, keep an eye out for swerving drivers, and don’t drink and drive.

Danger #2: Cooking Accidents

You can hardly have a July 4 celebration without a cookout — hot dogs, brats, and hamburgers have been an American staple for decades.

But with cookouts and barbecues come accidents. The most common insurance claim in July 4th history is from cooking fires.

In fact, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, more fires are reported on July 4 than any other day of the year.

The reasons for this include leaving your fire unattended, having your fire too close to flammable products, failing to turn off your grill or put out the fire when you’re done, and failing to clean your grill properly.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that you keep a 3-foot safe zone around grills and campfires, and that you keep any open flames at least 15 feet away from anything that could potentially catch on fire.

Danger #3: Fireworks Accidents

It’s a given — explosions will eventually lead to someone getting hurt. While all precautions are taken to make sure everyone is safe, accidents happen. Well, and people also do things like this:

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, 230 people (on average) will go to the ER with fireworks-related injuries.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep kids away from fireworks
  • Don’t buy fireworks that are packaged in brown paper
  • Never try to re-light fireworks that have not ignited fully
  • Keep a hose handy when you’re lighting fireworks
  • Only light one firework at a time
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Always douse a firework with water after it’s done burning

If you really want to stay safe, leave the fireworks to the pros.

Danger #4: Boating Accidents

Nothing seems better than enjoying the breeze while watching fireworks from a boat. However, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary warns that the 4th of July accounts for more than a third of all boating accidents.

These boating accidents range from crashing to the boat to fatalities, and it’s most often from fireworks mishaps and alcohol. While it’s a danger to your life and the lives around you, drinking and boating can also bring on a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

Here are some things to keep in mind while setting sail:

  • Always wear a life jacket
  • Check (and double check) that your equipment is functioning properly
  • Familiarize yourself and your crew with basic emergency procedures
  • Never operate a boat while drinking alcohol
  • File a Float Plan with a friend (http://floatplancentral.org/)
  • Be highly aware of other boats, the weather, or anything unusual
  • Use common sense (never light fireworks from your boat!)

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good boat outing, but turn up your senses a bit.

Danger #5: Horrible Firework Videos the Next Day

You’ve enjoyed a day off work, you’re full of cake and steak, and your clothes smell like bonfire.

It was a good day.

But, beware of the firework videos the next day, as they’re sure to fill your newsfeed.

The tell-tell signs of a horrible firework video are a shaky frame, yelling sounds that aren’t quite audible, blurriness and lack of focus, and a length of 10-15 seconds.

Experts say that it’s pretty difficult to avoid this, and that the secret to a decent fireworks video is best left to the imagination.

Enjoy your 4th of July!

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