Our view: Have a safe and happy Fourth of July


You’ll have plenty of company if you’re planning a road trip this Fourth of July weekend.

Nearly 43 million people will travel by car over the next few days, a record-breaking number, according to AAA.

We don’t want to pour water on your barbecue grill, but if we may, a few words of caution before the celebration heats up:

With record numbers of drivers on the road, there’s an even higher potential for serious accidents — something we’re sure everyone wants to avoid.

The National Safety Council estimates that there will be more than 460 deaths over the three-day weekend, and more than 50,000 people will be seriously injured in car crashes, swimming incidents and fireworks accidents. That’s the highest number the organization has predicted since 2008.

Most of the deaths will be caused by motor vehicle accidents.

As always, when you are behind the wheel, we encourage you to slow down, pay attention and avoid being distracted. Stay sober or designate a driver. Buckle up and stay off the phone.

Perhaps your weekend motoring will take you to the shore, where many families will be turning to water activities to beat the heat.

If you’re heading out on the water, review safe boating practices first. Don’t operate any watercraft after drinking, and have a first-aid kit and enough life preservers for everyone on the boat.

Before taking a dip, remember that ocean currents can change rapidly. Never swim alone, and always be on a life-guarded beach.

If you’re staying closer to home and celebrating by going to a parade or cookout — and seriously, is there a better place to mark Independence Day than just a few miles from the site where our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence? — just use your common sense.

There are some traditions that should not be part of the celebration.

Fireworks are awesome and entertaining. They’re also extremely dangerous and illegal for consumer use in Sedalia. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that some things are better left to the professionals. Sparklers alone were responsible for 41 percent of fireworks injuries in 2013, and 79 percent of those injured were children under 5. Nearly half of all fireworks injuries involve children under 15, according to the NSC.

Stay far away from hand-held fireworks. Let the experts handle the rockets’ red glare while you sit back and relax. Check out our schedule of local fireworks displays online or in this newspaper.

No matter how you choose to observe Independence Day, do it in a responsible way so everyone can enjoy it. We want you to celebrate from the safety of your homes, beaches and lawns, not in an emergency room.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Sedalia Democrat
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