The Fourth of July has always been a favorite holiday among Americans, and there’s no reason to think that this year will be any different. Unfortunately, it’s also the most dangerous day of the year to be out on the roads.

Why is driving so dangerous on the Fourth of July?

A lot of people visit friends and family on the holiday or they head somewhere to take in fireworks. The increased traffic, coupled with the fact that many people are on unfamiliar roads, tends to increase the number of ordinary car accidents. Other problems include the use of cellphones while driving (including using them as global positioning devices) and drunk driving. Drinking is often part of the holiday, and many people will take a chance and drive home, despite the dangers.

What can you do to keep yourself and your family safe?

Ideally, just stay off the roads. If you’re celebrating at home, get everything for your cookout or party before the weekend even starts. If you’re heading to a relative’s, get a hotel and limit your road travel until the holiday is over.

If you can’t quite avoid traveling during this time, remember these tips:

  • Go home early. The later you’re on the road, the more likely you’re going to encounter tired, distracted or drunk drivers.
  • Keep your seat belt on. While this is always wise, it’s especially important to mitigate your risks when you know there’s a greater potential for problems.
  • Put your cellphone down. The last thing you want to do is to compound your potential for an accident by being distracted yourself.
  • Volunteer to drive others. Being the designated driver for your friends or relatives keeps that many more intoxicated people off the road.
  • Keep a safe distance. Give other vehicles plenty of room, especially if you see a driver weaving or behaving erratically.
  • Be cautious at intersections. A drunk driver may blow through the light or forget their signals.

If you are involved in a car accident, remember that you have every right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. A wreck can disrupt your life for months or years to come, so it’s important to obtain money that can be used to cover your lost wages and medical bills.