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Fourth of July Safety: Common Dangers of the Holiday Weekend & How to Stay Safe

Independence Day is here! Last year, an estimated 84% of Americans took part in Fourth of July festivities. The most common plans included cookouts, barbecues, or picnics (61% of celebrators) and attending fireworks shows or other community celebrations (33% of celebrators), according to Statista.

While the Fourth of July is typically a fun-filled, family-friendly celebration, it’s important to recognize the dangers of the holiday, too. Poor decisions made on the holiday can have life-threatening consequences. Sources such as Forbes and the Los Angeles Times call Fourth of July weekend the deadliest holiday weekend, largely due to car crashes and firework-related injuries.

Read on for facts about these two common Fourth of July dangers — and how you can stay safe while celebrating!

Fast Facts About Fireworks

While fireworks are a Fourth of July staple, they’re also incredibly dangerous:

  • Emergency rooms in the United States treated approximately 15,600 firework-related injuries in 2020.
  • Firework injuries are on the rise! According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the number of injuries with fireworks increased 25% between 2006 and 2021.
  • In 2021, an estimated 11,500 Americans were injured, and at least nine died in firework-related accidents.
  • Hands and fingers accounted for about 31% of firework-related injuries in 2021, while an estimated 21% of injuries were to heads, faces, and ears, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • In the United States, fireworks cause approximately 19,500 fires each year – 28% of which are reported on the Fourth of July.

Firework Safety

If you would like fireworks to be part of your Fourth of July celebration, see if there are any firework displays planned in your community or a nearby community. Leave the fireworks to the pyrotechnicians!

Avoid using sparklers, too — and absolutely keep them out of the hands of children. They may look pretty, but they can burn up to 1,800 degrees!

Consider some fun alternatives to fireworks, too, such as glowsticks! In 2020, we published a blog with more family-friendly, kid-approved alternatives to fireworks. Check it out!

Dangers of Drinking and Driving

When traveling this weekend, consider that…

  • Summer is the season with the highest number of DUI fatalities. More people die in crashes due to drunk drivers in July than any other month.
  • Independence Day is the second most dangerous holiday for DUI fatalities, with a 78% higher risk than the average day — and the most dangerous week of the year for drunk driving is the week of Independence Day.
  • According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 462 people may die on the road between Friday, July 1, 2022 at 6pm and Monday, July 4, 2022 at 11:59pm.
  • 41% of Fourth of July driving fatalities involve impaired drivers. Of those deaths, data shows that the majority of drivers have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher, which is nearly twice the legal limit.

Avoiding a Deadly Driving Situation

If you plan to drink this weekend, have a designated driver and a return home plan. If you do not have a sober ride home, spend the night where you are and return home the next day.

If you know a friend has been drinking, do not let them drive. Instead, arrange a sober and safe ride home for your friend or let them stay over.

If you are the designated driver, be vigilant. Limit distractions, and make sure your passengers all wear their seatbelts. While you made a smart, responsible decision, other drivers may not have. Focus on getting yourself and your friends home safely, and be aware of other cars on the road.

Keep Fourth of July Celebrations Smart, Safe, and Fun!

Make smart decisions this weekend to ensure your festivities stay fun and safe! For other summer backyard safety tips for the sun, the grill, the heat, the fire, and more, visit our Backyard Safety Guide, available here.


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Katherine Trautwein

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.