Fourth of July Road Safety-Car Crashes Are a Buzz Kill–Drive Sober!
Posted on June 30th, 2023 by Zane Cagle
Nothing Ruins A Celebration Like Serious Injuries
The National Safety Council estimates that 619 people may die during this holiday weekend. The Fourth of July weekend is traditionally a high road crash fatality weekend. It is also a holiday that often involves alcohol. Do not mix driving with alcohol and we can avoid a bunch of motor vehicle crashes. The NSC is often very accurate in their estimates. We can reduce fatal car crashes by simply following the rules of the road, wearing a seat belt, and paying attention.
The number of motor vehicle crashes has only increased in the last two years. The only numbers that has risen faster than car crashes are motorcycle crashes. Take a few minutes to plan your weekend to be safe so you can celebrate future holidays.
Drive sober. Again, it is not difficult. No matter how “donkey drunk” you may get over the holiday weekend, just don’t climb behind the wheel and inflect it upon others.
Plan Your Travel
Many will hit the roadways to go to local waterways and meeting family and friends. It’s is predicted to be a hot one as it usually is on the Fourth, so staying close to cool water and cool beverages is always a winner. Whether you are traveling across town or across the state, do some planning. Yes, planning the food and events are always fun. But, just a few minutes of planning your transportation can be the difference between a successful event verses the emergency room.
Wear a Seat Belt
This is not hard concept. In fact, the greater majority of the US population has adopted the seat belt habit. Yet, when we review the traffic crash reports through the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the number of people failing to buckle up is really stunning. For some reason, Missouri drivers seem to lag behind the country in seat belt usage rates. We pay the price through increased injuries, fatalities, and increased medical costs for all. Wearing a seat belt increases your odds of surviving a crash by 45 percent!
There is no where that you need to be so quickly that you endanger yourself and others. You have only to read/listen to the local news about recent high speed fatal crashes. The high number of tragic fatalities that we have had in the last few months due to drivers blowing through red lights at high speeds is not just enraging, it is criminal. Just take your time and get to your destination safely. Rarely can you actually shave off significant minutes when you are traveling across town. We all know that to be true because most of us have tried. We represent those seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes and we understand the extreme difficulty of life-changing injuries. Injured people of all ages can spend years trying to recover and many changes are permanent. Serious and fatal crashes are all the more tragic because 99 percent of all crashes are completely preventable.
Seriously, paying attention and following the rules of the road greatly reduce the possibility of a car crash injury.
Make Sure to Properly Restrain Your Children in the Car
Many scoff at the notion that some people do not restrain their children in a motor vehicle. It happens way more than one would think. More often than not, little ones do not wish to cooperate with a seat belt or child safety seat. However, if you fail to understand how dangerous it is for your child to ride unrestrained, look at local crash reports. The very idea that your child can be hurt in a motor vehicle crash is unthinkable. But, the concept that your child could unnecessarily be injured because you failed to restrain them? Honestly, there are so many opportunities for our kids to get hurt under the best supervision, do not fail to do the simple things we know help.
DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE
The idea that anyone thinks they are a good driver while impaired is absurd. Again, nothing kills a really good time like getting a DUI or being responsible for your injured friends or family. Sound harsh? Maybe, but after 25 years of PSA’s on television graphically informing the public of how dangerous drunk driving is, there is not a human being that does not know that drunk driving is dangerous. Honestly, is there anyone who has not been directly impacted by a drunk driver through the loss or serious injury of a friend or family member?
A successful holiday weekend will be successful if you are around people you like and have great food. Celebrating safely is actually the most considerate thing you can do for friends and family.
Nationwide, alcohol-impaired fatalities represented about 31 percent of the total traffic fatalities in 2021. During the Independence Day period in 2021, 39 percent of fatalities involved alcohol-impaired drier, one of the highest percentages of all of the holiday. If that sounds absurd, it should. Avoiding impaired driving can reduce traffic crash fatalities significantly, not to mention all of the serious injury crashes.
Every Fourth of July, we publish these reminders on the hope that one person thinks before climbing behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
Know the Steps of Action After a Crash
If you are involved in a car crash, you should know in advance the basic steps that you will take. Nationally, each one of us is in an average of 4-6 car crashes in our lifetime. Hopefully, those all door-ding incidents at the grocery store. However, most do not stop and think about what they would do if they were in a crash. It’s a matter of time and degree. Your steps following a crash are the same.
- Call the Police. Resist the urge to Not call the police. If the other driver really does not want to call the police, you really should. If the police do not document the crash, then you create an opportunity for the other driver to pretend it never happened or have a very different version of the crash. If you only exchange information with the other driver, you are gambling on accuracy.
- Stay at the Scene. If traffic is heavy and the scene is dangerous, communicate with the other driver to move to a safe place. Of course, the exception to this is if you leave the scene in an ambulance!
- Tell the police what happened in clear terms. Conveying feelings or colorful adjectives about the crash are not helpful.
- Seek immediate medical help. If you are in pain, do not put off seeking medical help. No, crashes never happen at a convenient time and no, it is never convenient to have to seek medical help. If you are hurt, get to medical help asap
- Notify your insurance carrier. Simply notify them, you do not need to give any statements in the first couple of days, especially if you are hurt. You should know that all of your calls will be recorded regardless of whether they say it is an official statement.
- Avoid giving statements about your injuries to any insurance carrier in the first few days or weeks unless you have no pain. The vast majority of folks have no idea the scope/degree of thier injury even after going to the ER initially. Thus, giving statements to an insurance company before you really have any idea what is wrong with you works to your disadvantage
- If you are hurt, you will need legal help
- Call an attorney. We give free advice 7 days a week
Some St. Louis Specific Advice
If you travel in the greater St. Louis metro area, you are probably familiar with the large number of hit and run crashes. You may have also tried to call the police for a crash and waited an extraordinary amount of time. We personally have experienced both of these issues. We have a few crashes every week in front of our building and often, police only show up if an ambulance is called. While there are lots of things we could complain about, our advice is in response to this not to rationalize or explain.
If you are hit by another car, don’t just assume they will stop. Grab your phone and snap photos of the other car if you are physically able. Hit and runs are common in the Lou, so you are going to have to be sure you have full coverage insurance. Too often, I talk with someone really angry because they were hit by another car and the other driver fled only to discover they do not have full coverage. If you do not have full coverage, you are saying you can afford to scrap your car. I know, that is a lot.
- Snap photos or shoot video at the crash scene. Wait until you are NOT DRIVING to do this.
- Still call the police any time you are in a crash–call immediately. Don’t delay. Someone could be really hurt and your delay could cost someone valuable time. Also, police are important on busy roadways so they can direct traffic and keep you and others from a secondary crash.
- If you exchange information. Take a photo of the other driver’s operating license. Of course, you will have to offer yours as well.
- Take down any witness information. Again, this can all be done via your phone so that you are not roadside with a piece of paper trying to take notes.
- Seek immediate medical help if you have pain.
Our attorneys are available seven days a week. We hope you never need us. After a crash, you have questions. We would much rather you ask questions and not need our help than get answers too late.