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4th of July: Most dangerous summer holiday for drivers

Out of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, July Fourth is the most dangerous for auto accidents, according to personal insurance auto claim data from 2012 to 2016 from Travelers Cos.

The data reveals there are 7% more auto accident claims over Fourth of July and the three days leading up to it, as compared to Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

An increase in drivers on the road means there are more drivers who are distracted, tired or driving unfamiliar routes, leading to the increase in auto accidents, says Chris Hayes, second vice president of risk control transportation at Travelers Cos.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Fourth of July holiday has ranked on average as the deadliest day for drivers for the past decade.

 

Here are some summer travel safety tips from Travelers agents can share with auto customers:

Perform scheduled maintenance and inspections

If the “check engine” light is on or you have been delaying scheduled maintenance, take your car in for service before your trip. Be sure to inspect the spare tire to make sure it’s in good condition.

 

Bring an emergency roadside kit

Stock your car with water and nonperishable food, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, jumper cables, reflective triangles, sunscreen, blankets, towels and road flares.

 

Preview the route

Familiarize yourself with the route before leaving. Relying solely on GPS can lead to distracted driving, which may result in dangerous last-minute turns and lane changes.

Avoid distractions

Everything that occupies your mind or affects your vision can contribute to distraction behind the wheel. Concentrate on the road and avoid distractions such as eating, reading maps, operating a GPS or using a cellphone.

 

Take breaks

When traveling long distances, it’s important to rest to help maintain focus and avoid fatigue.

Never drink and drive

Have a plan if you choose to consume alcohol, whether it’s using a designated driver, ride-sharing or public transportation.

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