Tips for staying safe while driving on the Fourth of July

July 1, 2013 12:00 AM

Many people around the U.S. are anticipating an action-packed Fourth of July weekend. Between family parties, vacations and firework displays, there's sure to be plenty of things going on that will keep Americans busy throughout the long weekend. 

While some Americans will be hosting their own celebrations, even more will be setting out on the roads to reach their destination. However, these motorists need to be aware of the dangers they will be facing when they get behind the wheel. The National Safety Council reports the busiest driving time is expected to begin around 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 3 and will run late into the night Sunday, July 7. Anyone driving in this period can take advantage of a few simple tips to stay safe as they travel. 

Get plenty of sleep
One of the hidden dangers of driving during a long weekend is your own weariness. Whether you've spent hours celebrating the holiday with family members or got stuck in more traffic than you'd anticipated, you may encounter drowsiness behind the wheel. According to AutoNation, drowsy driving is a major contributor to car accidents, so altering a schedule for a nap or even pulling over to the side of the road for some rest can save you from injury or auto repair

Watch out for high temperatures
While warm weather may be perfect for spending time outside or taking trips to the beach, it can wreak havoc on your body. Overheating and dehydration are serious concerns, so keep your car stocked with water bottles in case of an emergency and don't push yourself to get behind the wheel if you feel ill. All drivers should also make sure their car air conditioning service is functioning properly so as to keep their vehicle cool and passengers happy. 

Eliminate distractions
Once you have a comfortable driving environment, you should work to ensure you can keep your eyes on the road for the duration of your trip. Look up directions beforehand and have the GPS set up before you leave the driveway. If for some reason you have to make a call, send a text or look up information, pull over to the side of the road or a rest stop instead of tearing your attention away from the road. Giving yourself time to make adjustments or take breaks throughout the journey can make the entire trip more enjoyable and could even save you time in the long run. 

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