Every year, millions of Americans eagerly await the Fourth of July. It’s a time for fireworks, parades, and picnics—celebrating freedom and the country’s independence. However, there’s a darker side to this festive holiday. The Fourth of July is also the deadliest summer holiday on the roads due to more concentrated driving travel and, sadly, more bad decisions such as drinking and driving. Driving during a national holiday poses risks due to increased road traffic. People travel to events, visit friends and family, or take vacations. This surge can result in congestion, delays, and a higher chance of a 4th of July car accident.


The Stark Reality of 4th of July Accidents


The long 4th of July weekend in 2023 was marked by tragedy on Ohio’s roadways. From Friday, July 2nd, to Monday, July 5th, a total of 16 people lost their lives in 15 crashes. Shockingly, impairment was a factor in at least five of these fatal accidents. The Ohio State Highway Patrol also reported 534 crashes and 536 arrests, with 368 drug-related charges. These statistics are a sobering reminder of the dangers associated with this holiday.


Impairment and Fatalities


The issue of impaired driving isn’t limited to Ohio; it’s a nationwide concern. Every year, the 4th of July consistently sees a spike in impaired driving-related fatalities. Alcohol and drugs impair judgment, reaction times, and coordination, making it extremely dangerous to get behind the wheel. The financial impact is equally staggering, with alcohol-related crashes resulting in $57 billion in economic costs. The consequences of impaired driving are life-altering and can be avoided with responsible choices.


2024 July 4th Travel Predictions


AAA projects that about 71 million Americans will travel over 50 miles from home this 4th of July, heightening the risk of accidents due to increased road traffic. It’s paramount to plan and take precautions for a safe journey.

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates a potential 599 fatalities on U.S. roads during this holiday period marked by heightened travel. Despite the elevated fatality rate per passenger mile associated with car travel, many choose this mode of transportation during the holidays. Holiday celebrations often involve alcohol consumption, a significant factor in automobile accidents. This year, Independence Day on July 4, 2024, is noteworthy as it falls on a Thursday and extends the holiday period to 4.25 days from 6 p.m. on July 3 to 11:59 p.m. on July 7.


2024 Toledo Ohio July 4th Travel Forecast


Why Is the Fourth of July the Deadliest Summer Holiday?


Higher Traffic Volume


The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that 60.6 million people will travel by car over the Independence Day week, a 5% increase from last year. This surge in traffic volume raises the risk of accidents.

Traffic congestion leads to frustration and aggressive driving behaviors. To mitigate this, plan your trips during off-peak hours. The worst times to drive are July 3rd and 4th between 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM, while the best time is before noon.

Using real-time traffic apps can also help you find the least congested routes. Consider adjusting your travel schedule to avoid peak times and reduce the risk of accidents. However, while using a real-time traffic app, please ensure compliance with Ohio’s recently enacted hands-free device law. If you use your phone for directions, please connect the app to a speakerphone, earpiece, wireless headset, or electronic watch or connect the phone to the vehicle.


Increased Crowds


Fourth of July events draw massive crowds. With more people attending fireworks shows, parades, and other festivities, the roads become busier and more congested. This surge in traffic can lead to delays and accidents, further exacerbating the risks.

Consider arriving early to avoid the rush when planning to attend significant events. Parking in designated areas and carpooling can also help alleviate congestion. Be mindful of pedestrian traffic and drive slowly in heavily populated areas to prevent accidents.

Stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Large crowds can be chaotic, and distractions can increase the risk of accidents. Ensure you know the event layout, including exits and first aid stations, to stay safe. Also, while leaving an event in a vehicle, please ensure all lights on your vehicle are working and that you have a cell phone.


Fatigued Driving


Long hours spent celebrating and late-night driving can lead to driver fatigue. Fatigue impairs cognitive function and reaction times, making driving dangerous.

To combat fatigued driving, ensure adequate rest before hitting the road. Take regular breaks during long trips and, if possible, share driving responsibilities with others. Listen to your body and avoid driving when you feel tired.

If you start feeling drowsy while driving, pull over at a safe location, take a short nap, or switch drivers. Proper precautions can prevent fatigue-related accidents.




The faster a driver travels, the more time and space they need to react to unexpected situations, including road hazards. Higher traveling speeds also magnify the impact force in a crash, increasing the severity of injuries and damage.

Speeding is particularly dangerous during the Fourth of July as roads become more congested. Adhering to speed limits and driving according to road conditions is crucial. Remember, arriving a few minutes late is better than not arriving.

Use cruise control on highways to maintain a consistent speed and reduce the temptation to speed. Stay patient and give yourself ample time to reach your destination safely. Also, be mindful of delays and check your route before departure to ensure adequate time to get to your destination without needing to speed.


Impaired Driving


Fourth of July celebrations often involve drinking and other risky behaviors. Alcohol consumption can lead to impaired driving, making the roads more dangerous for everyone. NHTSA statistics show that the deadliest months for drivers and pedestrians are July through October, with higher-than-average numbers of alcohol-impaired crashes.

She was impaired driving peaks during the holiday period. For example, during California Highway Patrol’s Maximum Enforcement Period, 1,220 DUI drivers were taken off the road, and 68 people lost their lives in impaired driving accidents. This data highlights the grave risks associated with alcohol consumption during festive occasions.

It’s essential to plan. Designate a sober driver, use ride-sharing services, or take public transportation to ensure you get home safely. Remember, even a small amount of alcohol can impair your ability to drive, affecting judgment, coordination, and reaction times.


Legal Consequences for Impaired Driving in Ohio and Michigan


Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense with significant legal consequences. In Ohio and Michigan, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. Understanding these laws can help prevent accidents and avoid severe penalties.


BAC Levels and Legal Limits


Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is a critical measure in determining impairment. For drivers over 21, a BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered legally impaired in Ohio and Michigan. This means that if you are caught driving with a BAC at or above this level, you could face substantial legal consequences.

The policy is even stricter for underage drivers. Any driver under 21 found to have a BAC of 0.02% or higher is considered impaired. This zero-tolerance policy aims to discourage underage drinking and driving and promote safer roads for everyone.


Safe Driving Practices on the Fourth of July


Driving safely is crucial to ensure a joyful 4th of July. Below are some essential tips to help you stay safe on the road.


Drive Home Earlier


Did you know that about 50% of traffic deaths occur at night? Impaired drivers are more likely to be on the road after dark. Plan your festivities so you can drive home earlier in the day. By doing so, you avoid peak traffic times and significantly reduce the chances of encountering impaired drivers. Early driving also grants you better visibility and less crowded roads.


Don’t Text or Use Your Phone While Driving


Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents. In 2023 alone, it claimed over 3,000 lives. To stay safe, put your phone in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode while driving. If you must make a call or send a text, pull over safely before using your phone. Remember, no text or call is worth risking your life.


Never Drink and Drive


Alcohol severely impairs your ability to drive safely. Consider other transportation options if you plan to drink during your 4th of July celebrations. Call a sober friend, use a ride-sharing service, or rely on public transportation. Staying overnight at your destination is also a wise choice. Your safety is worth far more than the inconvenience of arranging alternate transport.


Be the Designated Driver


Offer to be the designated driver for your friends and family. This ensures everyone has a sober ride home. Being a designated driver is a responsible choice that can save lives. Organize ahead of time to avoid last-minute decisions and ensure everyone knows who the designated driver is.


Always Wear Your Seat Belt


Seat belts save lives. Using seat belts reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45%. Regardless of how short the trip is, ensure you and your passengers are always buckled up. Seat belts significantly decrease the severity of injuries in case of an accident.


Be Extra Cautious Approaching Intersections


More than half of all fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections. Approach intersections with caution, even if you have the right of way. Be vigilant for other drivers who may not be paying attention. Taking a few extra seconds to look around can make a significant difference.


What Should I Do If I Get Into an Accident?


Despite all precautions, accidents can still happen. Knowing what to do in such situations can help protect you and others involved. Here’s a step-by-step guide:


Call the Police to the Scene


Immediately call the police to report the accident. An official report will be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings. The police will document the scene and gather essential information.


Exchange Information with the Other Driver


Collect and exchange information with the other driver(s) involved. This should include names, contact details, insurance information, and vehicle registration. Having accurate information will facilitate smoother insurance claims and legal processes.


Get Info from Any Eyewitnesses


If there are any eyewitnesses, gather their contact information. Eyewitness accounts can provide valuable evidence to help understand how the accident occurred. They can also support your version of events if disputes arise. Please don’t assume that the reporting officers will take their information.


Take Pictures of the Accident Scene


Document the entire accident scene with photos. This includes road conditions, traffic signs, and other relevant details. These pictures will help recreate the scene if needed for investigations. Moreover, photograph the damage to all vehicles involved in the accident. Clear, detailed photos will be important evidence for insurance and legal claims. Lastly, make sure to capture multiple angles and close-up shots. Also, look for nearby businesses, skycop cameras, and government buildings for surveillance cameras, noting their location and angle.


Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer


Consulting a car accident lawyer can provide critical guidance. They can help protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation. Legal expertise will be crucial in navigating the complexities of insurance and legal claims.


We Advocate for Car Accident Victims


If you or a loved one was injured in a 4th of July car accident, consulting with an experienced car accident attorney is crucial. At Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault, we are dedicated to helping personal injury victims obtain justice and recover fair compensation for their losses. Our Toledo car accident lawyers have won millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We understand that car accident victims face costly medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress. We are here to support you through every step of the legal process and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Call Your Toledo car accident lawyers at 419-843-6663 to get started, or use our easy online contact form today.

If you reside in or around any of the areas we serve in Ohio and Michigan – MaumeeDefianceFremontFindlayLimaMansfieldToledo, and Monroe – and are searching for the “best car accident lawyer near me,” you can count on having the best lawyer for car accidents from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to represent you in a personal injury or wrongful death case.  With a local Toledo personal injury attorney near you, help is just a phone call away.