How to have safe travels during the Fourth

The unofficial kickoff to summer (Memorial Day) saw more than 36 million Americans taking to highways in order to get to a vacation destination. With the Fourth of July holiday drawing near, chances are that freeways will be clogged again with weekend vacation traffic. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) more than 40 million people will travel at least 50 miles to a destination, with a majority doing so by car.

If you are one of the early birds who took the entire week off in order to avoid Thursday afternoon traffic, congratulations to you. However, the holiday weekend still poses a threat to drivers, as it is largely the most dangerous holiday driving period; likely second to only New Year's Eve. Besides distracted drivers and drowsy drivers, accidents are also attributable to drunk driving during this period.

Even with these hazards, there are things that drivers can do to stay safe. This post will highlight them.

Wear your seatbelt - While it is the law in California that all occupants in a car must wear their seatbelts, it is surprising how many people don't do so; especially for "short" trips to the grocery store. It may seem obvious, but wearing a seatbelt increases your chances of surviving a serious accident.

Put down the cell phone - With all the directional apps that smartphones offer these days, it is tempting to use cell phones while behind the wheel. However, the attention needed to follow directions may take your attention away from the road.

Avoid aggressive driving - If you were one of the many people who were not able to get away early and must slog through slow traffic, take it in stride. Aggressive driving, including tailgating and speeding, often lead to crashes.

Source: Sfchronicle.com "Drunk drivers to be targeted during holiday travel," AP News, June 25, 2014

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