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Get To Your Fourth Of July Destination Safely



With millions of drivers hitting the road this Fourth of July holiday, playing it

safe when behind the wheel takes on even greater importance.

Unfortunately, the Independence Day holiday period is one of the deadliest

times for being on the road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that

every 40 minutes and nearly 40 times a day, someone in the United States

dies in an alcohol impaired traffic crash. NHTSA also reports:

• In 2007, 34% of all drivers involved in traffic related crashes during the

Fourth of July holiday period had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08

or higher.

• Of the 200 traffic related fatalities that occurred during the July 4th

holiday period of 2007, 44% involved a driver or motorcyclist with a BAC

of .08 or higher.

"Despite the best efforts of police departments and law enforcement

agencies, people who shouldn't be driving are still on the road," said Linda

Moynihan, Regional Sales Leader for the Midwest Region of Allstate

Insurance. "Even when you're not on the road, you can help save lives by

being a responsible party host, preventing friends and acquaintances from

driving drunk and reporting suspicious drivers."

The national organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) lists the

following warning signs for spotting a drunk driver on the road:

• Straddling lanes or driving on the center line

• Drifting or moving in a straight line at a slight angle to the roadway

• Driving with headlights off at night

• Erratic braking or stopping without cause

• Driving below the speed limit

• Slow response to traffic signals (sudden stop, delayed start)

• Nearly striking an object, curb, etc

• Weaving or zigzagging across the road

• Driving on the wrong side of the road or completely off the roadway

• Tailgating

To protect families from drunk drivers over the July 4th holiday period, here

are some life-saving tips from Allstate and the National Safety Council:

• Don't ever drink and drive. If you know you will be drinking alcohol, use a

designated driver or public transportation

• If you spot an impaired driver on the highway, maintain a safe following

distance and don't attempt to pass.

• Report a suspected drunk driver immediately to area law enforcement from

your car phone or a pay phone. Give police as much information (i.e., license

plate number, make, model and color of vehicle, direction vehicle is traveling,

physical description of driver) as possible. Do not try and stop the vehicle.

• Make sure children are properly fastened in seatbelts or child safety seats

in the back seat every time they ride in a car. Six out of ten children killed in

crashes are not restrained. Children age 12 and under should always ride in

the back seat, especially in vehicles with air bags.

• Allow enough travel time for frequent breaks on longer trips. Drowsiness

can reduce reaction time almost as much as drinking.

Whether you plan to hit the open road or stay close to home, celebrate

America's independence safely by knowing how to diffuse a potentially

dangerous driving situation. Don't remember the Fourth of July for all the

wrong reasons.