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Plan ahead for a safe holiday

With roughly two weeks to go before our nation celebrates another birthday, now is a good time to consider what your celebration will entail. With the 4th falling on a Wednesday, there may be a reduction in the number of people celebrating all weekend. Still, there will be fireworks, barbecues, parties and increased holiday traffic. There will also be the least welcome element of every holiday: increased car accident deaths.

Alcohol is the the most common culprit in the sharp rise in auto fatalities that attends many holidays. The Fourth of July is no exception. People have one (or several) too many drinks and decide to get behind the wheel anyhow. They may be deciding to go from on party to the next, or decide on a last-minute fireworks display. The decision turns deadly, for them, for their passengers or for some unlucky person they encounter along the way.

Designate a driver now

Drunk driving crashes killed 188 people over the Fourth of July holiday in 2016, the last year for which the numbers are available. That figure is far too high, and represents a sharp increase from 2015. How many of those accidents could have been prevented if the drivers had simply thought ahead?

It is difficult to make safe travel arrangements on the spur of the moment, after you have started drinking. If you plan to attend a gathering where alcohol is served, you should already have a plan for getting home that does not involve trying to limit yourself to just a few drinks before driving. If you are drinking at all, you need an alternate plan for getting where you're going.

There are more options than ever before for getting a lift home if you've been drinking. If you are reluctant to leave your car at a friend's house or a bar, you shouldn't drive it there in the first place. Avoiding temptation is the easiest way to deal with it. You have plenty of time to prepare for what you want the Fourth to look like. Take the right steps now and you can ensure that you are not the cause of a deadly drunk driving accident.

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