From the Rock County Police:
As Americans prepare to celebrate the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, Sheriff Robert Spoden is reminding citizens not to get behind the wheel if they’ve had too much to drink and keep a few simple safety tips in mind for a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.
Impaired Driving – “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”
Data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
From 2009 – 2013, nearly 40 percent of all traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 199 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a drunk driver during a six-day period from 6:00 p.m. on July 3rd to 5:59 a.m. July 8th.
Recognizing the significant increase in travel through the weekend, the Rock County Sheriff’s Office will continue aggressive traffic enforcement to keep our roads safe this Fourth of July weekend. Before drinking, citizens should plan a safe way home, designate a sober driver, and hand over the keys.
• Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself – eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
• If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
• Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive and have had too much to drink.
• Always buckle up – it’s still your best defense against other drunk drivers
• For more information on the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober
Increased Traffic on Wisconsin Roadways
With lower fuel costs and a three-day holiday weekend approaching, there will be a significant increase in travel on Wisconsin roadways. According to the Wisconsin DOT, most construction on major highways will be suspended for the Fourth of July weekend around noon on Friday but there will be delays due to current construction zones. The most impacted travel times are anticipated between noon and 8:00 p.m. on Friday July 3rd and Sunday, July 5th.
Remember to watch out for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Emergency Preparedness – Travel
Citizens are encouraged to prepare for any travel delays by having the following items in the vehicle at all times:
• Phone charger for vehicle use
• Weather appropriate clothing, blankets, and towels
• Basic tool set and jumper cables
• First aid kit, flashlight, and batteries
• Motorists can check online for real-time traffic information, including travel times, lane closures, and incidents, at www.511wi.gov or by calling 511.
Fireworks go hand-in-hand with the Fourth of July celebration. The National Council on Fireworks Safety has these suggestions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience when using fireworks (http://www.fireworkssafety.org/safety-tips):
• Fireworks should only be used outdoors, at a safe distance from the audience, buildings, and vehicles. Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
• Citizens are reminded to comply with requirements regarding legal fireworks and to read all cautionary labels before using any fireworks.
• A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
• Citizens should always have water on hand to put out any unintentional fires or malfunctioning fireworks.
• Never point or throw fireworks at other people or animals.
• Remember to keep pets indoors to ensure their safety, preventing injury and stress.
• Avoid alcohol consumption while using fireworks.
• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
• Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
• Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
• Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
• Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
Holidays occurring over the summer months mean more time spent outdoors, so remember these basic heat safety tips:
• Stay hydrated – avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol
• Wear loose fitting, lightweight, light colored clothing – dark colors absorb the sun’s rays.
• Take breaks frequently in higher temperatures and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day: 12:00 PM – 4:00 pm
• Check on family, friends and elderly, those who are more vulnerable to heat
• Check on your pets more frequently in warmer weather
• Never leave individuals or pets in parked vehicles. Temperatures become life-threatening within just minutes