Fireworks, barbecues, and picnics. These are only a few of the things the city of Chicago can look forward to this Fourth of July. As many people prepare to make the most of this holiday, especially with it landing on a Thursday this year and giving Chicagoans the opportunity to travel out of town on extended vacations, it’s also important to remind everyone that this is also one of the more dangerous holidays in terms of safe driving. Both local and state law enforcement urge residents to drive responsibly this Fourth of July weekend.
According to the Illinois State Police, impaired driving is a leading cause of crashes on the Fourth of July. With so many people partaking in the festivities of Independence Day, there also comes great concern that these same people might not be quite so diligent and responsible when it comes to how they get from one location to another. This issue of reckless driving, especially under the influence, is often brought up as the holiday approaches. With the Fourth of July being tomorrow, here is a list of ways to enjoy the holiday safely.
- Do Not Drink and Drive: Although drunk driving has always been a heavily regulated topic, with all 50 states and D.C. having set laws that define driving while impaired as a crime when a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches a specific level or above (.08 percent at this time), this is a rule that should go without saying.
- Vehicle Maintenance: Getting behind the wheel while impaired is not the only concern people should have during this holiday. If you know that you will be driving during the Fourth of July weekend, make sure that your vehicle is in proper condition to be out on the road. Read about the dangers a lack of vehicle maintenance can cause here.
- Remember to fasten your seat belt: According to the CDC, “seat belt use is one of the effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes.” While celebrating this weekend, remember to make your safety and that of others a top priority.
- Ride-Sharing Safety:As mentioned in a previous post, residents who realize they shouldn’t be driving, or simply decide that calling a ride-share would be better than having to concern themselves with driving, should also make sure to note what safety precautions to take when it comes to ride-sharing. Always make sure to check your driver’s license plate and car information to make sure that they match up with what is stated on your ride-sharing app.
- E-Scooters: Although e-scooters in Chicago are still limited to certain areas of the city, those with access to these e-scooters should remember that just because it isn’t a car, no one under the influence should be using one of these scooters for transportation. Despite having just been introduced to Chicago in the past few weeks, the pilot program has already brought on a variety of complaints. This holiday weekend, it is important to remember that these scooters need to be used responsibly to help avoid injury to yourself as well as others.
- Divvy Bikes: Similar to the e-scooters, if you choose to ride a Divvy bike on your way home, make sure that you are in the proper condition to do so. Inebriated biking or scootering, especially in the city, could lead to just as devastating of results as drunk driving.
- Texting while Driving: Although texting should already always be avoided at any point when someone is behind the wheel, with the recent law on texting while driving having kicked in on July 1, 2019, this is a reminder that texting and can also cost you money.
- Pedestrian Safety: Drivers should keep an eye out for pedestrians. Drivers should have a duty to look out for other cars, as well as people crossing the street on foot. With people heading downtown to enjoy the Independence Day festivities this weekend, motorists should be on the lookout for people on foot as well as other vehicles in order to avoid crashes.
A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) stated that there have been more people who died in drunk driving crashes in July than any other month. As the city and its residents prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July and the rest of the weekend, we hope everyone makes sure to do so in a safe manner. Keep an eye out for drunk drivers and be sure to report them to the police immediately. The more drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists feel inclined to report road safety issues, the safer we make your community.