Driving On the 4th of July? Deadliest Highway Holiday

Americans only get 10 national holidays a year which to most is not good. We all wish there could and should be more. But looking at the numbers for highway traffic deaths, maybe it is a good thing there aren’t more. On average there have been 450 deaths on Independence Day between 2016 and 2018. So keep in mind that if you’re driving on the 4th of July, it’s the deadliest highway holiday according to a study by Autoinsurance.org.

RELATED: August Is the Deadliest Month to Drive in the U.S.

The spike in traffic fatalities on holidays is naturally due to the increased amount of cars traveling. It also doesn’t help that being a holiday there is too much imbibing. Drunk driving is always bad but it too jumps up on holidays. 

Coming in at number two and three are Memorial Day and Labor Day

waving a large flag from a Mercedes
A man waves a US flag out of the sunroof of a Mercedes | Getty

Coming in at number two and three are Memorial Day and Labor Day. Per the study: “Sadly, many holidays result in a spike in fatal crashes across the country, with more people on the road and a sizable increase in drunk driving incidents.” Not surprisingly, Christmas is the safest holiday in America. There are more than a third more fatal accidents on the 4th than on Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

With so many event closures this year due to the pandemic it is hoped there will be a significant decrease in the number of deaths reported. But the lockdowns and restrictions may not make a difference. According to AAA, it predicts that over 700 million trips will be planned. With concerns over coming in contact with the virus, many are opting not to use subways or other mass-transit travel. So the car is the prime source for avoiding contact.

Train and bus travel has been reduced by a whopping 86%

boy waves flag on overpass with freeway below
A woman waves to cars with an American flag on an overpass. | Getty

AAA says traveling by plane is off 74%. Train and bus travel has been reduced by a whopping 86%. While it is expected that Americans will travel a lot by car this summer it is thought they will opt for weekend getaways rather than extended stays.

The trend for driving more than using mass transit is expected to continue into the future. With lockdowns and many destinations closed over the past several months personal travel declined only 3%. Many businesses have closed offices to allow employees to work from home. Even that hasn’t affected personal vehicle use that much.

National holidays were not the only ones making the study

Old decals in window of car

National holidays were not the only ones making the study. After Independence Day, Labor Day and Memorial Day, here are the remaining holidays in the top ten list: Columbus Day with 442 fatalities, Father’s Day at 439 deaths, Mother’s Day having 417 fatalities, Halloween at 405 deaths, Thanksgiving also with 405 deaths, Veterans Day with 392 fatalities, and Cinco de Mayo with 387 deaths. These were compiled for the same 2016-2018 period. 

When you drive this weekend keep these statistics in mind and drive safe. If you must drink, bring along a designated driver. Buckle up and stay safe!