The Fourth of July is nearly here, and that means many throughout Los Angeles and the surrounding areas of California are gearing up for vacation days, special events, and celebrations of our nation’s independence. While celebrating the Fourth is a time-honored tradition, it shouldn’t be forgotten that this holiday historically sees high rates of accidents and injuries, and that staying safe means knowing the risks.
Whatever plans you have when it comes to celebrating the Fourth, our legal team at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP would like to remind you about making safety a priority. Over the years, we’ve seen how this holiday can pose unique risks and dangers, and how victims can suffer preventable harm and losses due to the negligent and careless acts of others. As such, our personal injury attorneys wanted to discuss a few important issues and tips that can help you enjoy the Fourth safely!
Drunk Driving Accidents – Drunk driving may be a danger year-round, but statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows rates of alcohol-involved car accidents increase dramatically during holidays like Fourth of July, as do injuries and deaths. To avoid becoming a statistics and enjoy the holidays safely, you should always avoid drinking and driving. If your celebrations involve alcohol, as many do this time of year, remember to drink responsibly, designate a sober driver, use taxi or ride-share services (like Uber or Lyft), or make plans to spend the night at or nearby where your event will be held. Be aware that even if you do drive sober, there may be more impaired motorists on the road.
Increased Traffic – As we mentioned on a previous blog, the summer months can introduce some unique roadway risks, including risks posed by increased traffic congestion. Unfortunately, this danger can be exacerbated during and around major national holidays like the Fourth of July, which makes it important for anyone with plans to travel by car to prepare accordingly. You’ll also want to be extra vigilant of slowed or slowing traffic, which means traveling at safe speeds and avoiding distractions behind the wheel. You should also be careful of fatigued driving (which can be just as dangerous as driving drunk), and be sure to get enough rest, pull over when you’re feeling tired, or make plans to switch off with more rested drivers when on longer road trips.
Fireworks – Fireworks are synonymous with the Fourth, but they are also notorious for serious injuries. If you have plans to enjoy fireworks, remember that the best way to do so is at an event organized by professionals. You should also remember that cities like Los Angeles and other Southern California communities have laws when it comes to what fireworks you can and cannot use – so be sure to find out what’s legal in your local area. If you do use legal fireworks of your own, take the following tips from the American Red Cross into account:
- Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when using fireworks.
- Supervise children at all times.
- Use fireworks in a safe location away from structures, vehicles, flammable objects, and people.
- Never light fireworks more than once. If a firework fails to fire on the first try, never attempt to relight “a dud.”
- New point or throw fireworks toward people or animals, even if they are only “sparklers.”
BBQ & Grill Safety – Gas and charcoal grills are a common site at Fourth of July celebrations, and they must be used responsibly in order to avoid preventable injuries. The U.S. CDC provides a few important tips for those who use grills during the holiday:
- Only use grills and barbecues in open areas – never indoors, in a home, tent, or enclosed area.
- Children, guests, and animals should be supervised near grills in use at all times.
- When grilling, use long-handled cooking utensils made specifically for barbecues.
- Never add additional lighter or starter fluid to charcoal that has already been ignited.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using any grill or barbecue.
Safety in the Water – If you’re planning a pool party or a getaway at a local beach or lake, water safety should be your main priority. Consider the following:
- If you own a pool, be sure children and guests are supervised and allowed in or near pools only when adults of nearby. You should also be careful of intoxicated guests near pools, especially if they are running or attempt to dive in shallow areas of the pool.
- If you’re heading to the beach, watch out for weather and water conditions and any posted warnings (i.e. strong currents, dangerous waves, etc.). Keep a close eye on children in and near the water, swim sober and with a buddy, and avoid rip tides by not straying too far into open water or near piers or jetties.
- If you’ll be celebrating by enjoying some recreational boating, be sure boat operators and passengers have a full understanding of safety protocol. This includes never operating a boat while under the influence, wearing approved life jackets and safety gear, being courteous and vigilant of other boats, and obeying all rules and laws.
Our team hopes you have a fun and safe Fourth of July, and that you keep safety in mind in whatever way you end up celebrating. Should you or a loved one suffer harm in a preventable accident, please know that our firm is available to help you learn more about your legal rights and whether you may have grounds to pursue a personal injury case. To speak with a member of our team, contact us for a free consultation.