Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays to be on the road, and drunk driving is largely to blame. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has data showing that in 2017, there were 529 traffic fatalities. According to The National Safety Council, during that 2017 Independence Day period, 237 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes. That means that 39% of fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver, the highest percentage among all the major holidays.
Take a PROACTIVE approach to staying safe by not driving while intoxicated.
Drinking alcohol during the Fourth of July holiday isn’t a problem UNLESS you plan on driving: then it is. So if you plan on drinking, you need to also make a plan for how you’ll get home. Either designate a driver ahead of time (and if you’re the designated driver, don’t drink!) or call an Uber/taxi to take you home.
You may think you can handle yourself and stay safe on the road while you’re intoxicated. But you don’t really know how alcohol is affecting your system until it’s too late. The American Addiction Centers says that the amount of time alcohol can be detected in your system depends on the type of test used:
- Blood: up to 6 hours
- Breathalyzer: 12-24 hours
- Saliva: 12-24 hours
- Urine: 12-24 hours for older methods of testing; 72 hours or longer for newer methods that test for ethanol metabolites such as ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate
- Hair: up to 90 days
So, it’s not about how you feel, it’s about what the alcohol is doing to your body and how long it sticks around in your system. As a general rule of thumb, if you’ve had a drink in the past 24 hours, you probably shouldn’t drive.
Other ways to stay safe on the road
While drunk driving is certainly the most prominent driving hazard during the Fourth of July holiday period, other factors such as distracted driving, sleepy driving, and fast driving can put you at risk as well. Bottom line: drive smart! Spend the night if you need to in order to avoid sleep-deprived driving or wait until you get home to post that Fourth of July selfie on Instagram. Making wise choices about when you drive and how you drive could be the difference between life and death.