July 4th 2016 is expected to be one of the highest travel periods in history. Fireworks could ensue, and not entirely in the night sky. Tempers will likely flare and spark some explosive situations as everybody hurries to get somewhere at the same time.
Filomena Andre, AAA’s vice president of travel products and services, stated that low gas prices and high consumer confidence could combine to turn the United States of America into a mass traffic jam.
If you’re planning on flying out of state, you might want to take that into consideration. Try to book your flight a day ahead to avoid the last-minute rush, and plan at least two hours for your wait at the TSA security lines. In previous years, Independence Day was riddled with angry customers who missed their flights over exceedingly long lines, leading to the need to reschedule. The TSA is planning to add more personnel this year to hopefully shorten lines. You will probably want to avoid bringing sharp metallic items in your carry-on luggage, as well as any liquids or gels. If you bring a beverage to cool you off while you wait in line, finish it off before you get to the checkpoint.
It is a bit late to use TSA pre-check, which does background screening before you even reach the airport. It could take weeks to even apply, and July 4th 2016 is just days away.
— Michael Meister (@photomeisterAZR) July 1, 2016
If you’re going to travel by road, July 4th 2016 could literally mean taking your life into your hands. Statistically, Independence Day is the deadliest day of the year for travel by motor vehicle. Insurance companies claim that 592 deaths occurred on the holiday from 2010 to 2014, followed only by 591 on New Years Day.
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) July 1, 2016
Follow the basic rules of safety. Buckle your seatbelt, and don’t even shift out of park until everyone with a working seatbelt does the same. If you’ve had something to drink with any alcohol at all in it, hand the keys to someone who hasn’t. Drinking and driving is not only dangerous, but illegal. The same applies to using a cell phone: If you absolutely need to take a call while you’re on the road and can’t pull over, use a Bluetooth headset. Keep your hands on the wheel where they belong.
If you’re taking a motorcycle on July 4th 2016, wear a helmet. Motorcycles are statistically the most dangerous form of transportation, and that helmet could save your life if someone else isn’t being so careful.
Give the vehicle a good inspection before you go, and have at least a good jack, wheel chocks, and spare tire on hand, as well as possibly a breaker bar and an impact lug nut socket set (in case the tire dealer went too far with the impact wrench). Check the fluids such as your oil, transmission, coolant, and brake system, and make sure they’re topped off and not overfull. A sudden oil leak from having too much in the engine could ruin your July 4th 2016 holiday. Have a trusted mechanic look it over as well. A test of the electrical system and OBD-II codes could point out potential problems early.
Try to keep your schedule as loose as possible, and take off early so you don’t end up risking a speeding ticket to get there on time.
Keep your mind on the road. The basic rule is that you’re driving for everybody else on the road. Others probably won’t be paying attention or showing any consideration on July 4th 2016. Try to maintain at least the length of your car away from the person in front of you to reduce the chance of collision if they stop suddenly.
Follow these tips and hopefully you will have a safe and happy Independence Day.
[Feature image via Yana Paskova/Getty Images]