4th of July Travel Safety Tips

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Although the Fourth of July lands in the middle of the week this year, many Michiganders will take time off to travel to their holiday destinations. In fact, according to Click on Detroit, it’s estimated that 1.5 million Michigan residents will be travelling on Wednesday! Whether staying local, crossing the state, or even crossing the country, drivers must be alert when hitting the road on Independence Day. Not only will there be higher traffic volumes, but alcohol will also be flowing in backyard barbecues and picnics. As a result, drunk driving car accidents are highly likely to occur. In fact, according to the National Highway for Traffic Safety (NHTSA), the 4th of July is, “one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to drunk driving.”

The NHTSA also reported that, 146 people lost their lives due to a negligent drunk driver in 2015. Approximately 97 of those drunk driving car crash fatalities occurred in a car accident where the at fault driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 1.5 or higher. That’s “almost twice the legal limit!” When getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, the driver is not only risking their own safety, but also the safety of their passengers, and everyone else trying to enjoy the holiday. Aside from avoiding drinking and driving, listed below are other important driving safety tips drivers should follow, issued by Safety 1st Driving School.

4th of July Travel Safety Tips

  1. Stay in the same place all day if possible. If you’re party-hopping, walk or bicycle.
  2. If you must drive, do NOT drink.
  3. Stay alert and free from distractions at all times, as people, children and animals may be walking around outdoors. That means NO TEXTING, and keep your music low.
  4. If you’re tired, stay put. Nothing’s worth risking your life for.
  5. Avoid the late hours of the night or early morning hours, when people are likely to be driving home and may be drunk or tired.
  6. Observe all speed limits – even slow down a little – and buckle up.
  7. This is a day to be extra alert, patient, and cautious. If you can’t be all three of those, don’t drive.
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As stated by NHTSA, “America’s Independence Day is about freedom. But freedom comes with responsibilities.” The Fourth of July should be a day for celebration, not for regret. Remember, it is never okay to drink and drive. Hot dogs and potato salad may mix, but alcohol and automobiles never do! Even if drivers have only had a little bit to drink, according to the NHTSA, buzzed driving IS drunk driving.

For those over the age of 21, drinking is a fun way to commemorate the 4th of July holiday. If you choose to celebrate with a drink, for your safety and the safety of others on the road, put together a travel plan ahead of time. Drivers have many options, including local transit, taxis, and car ride services. For example, rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft make it easier than ever before to get home safe after having a few drinks. If you’re hitting the road this week, safe travels, and have a happy Fourth of July!


With plenty of Michigan drivers travelling this Fourth of July, the chances for an automobile accident to occur are extremely high. Unfortunately, car accidents are not 100% preventable. However, choosing not to drink and drive is a great start to a fun and safe Independence Day. If you have been in an automobile accident and would like a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney, contact the The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our accident attorneys are here to answer any questions you may have regarding benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan law.

Safety Tips for 4th of July Fireworks and BBQS

The Fourth of July is a day commonly spent with family and friends celebrating our nation’s independence. For many Americans, this national holiday is not complete without two key elements: barbecues and fireworks! While these two traditions are heavily ingrained in the American culture, their origins may be unknown to many. According to Reader’s Digest, fireworks have been tied to Independence Day since the very first official independence celebration in Philadelphia. On July 4th, 1777, 13 cannons were set off, representing each of the 13 states of the union, and fireworks glistened in the sky.

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The tradition of the backyard BBQ does not span as long, as barbecuing only became prominent in the early 1800’s. Virginian colonists grilled animals over a fire, continuing the practice taken from the West Indies, but it was political leaders who tied grilling to the 4th of July. They held rallies to commemorate the holiday, which attracted a large number of individuals, due to the inclusion of, “massive barbecues featuring whole pigs and oxen.”

Today, nothing says red, white, and blue quite like a fireworks show and hot dogs on the grill. However, a family-friendly backyard BBQ can quickly go from fun to fatal when attention is taken away from the grill. Not only can the open flames  harm to kids who get too close, but a fire could erupt, due to leaking propane, and quickly spread. The explosion could cause burns, as well as major property damage. Grill fires sound like a joke, but they are more common than people think.. According to TODAY, there are 7,000 gas grill fires in the US every year! Fireworks also pose a threat if they are not handled with care or if they are misused and can lead to serious firework accident injuries. Children and adults alike have been known to burn themselves trying to light a firework, or have a firework explode in their faces if they don’t back away in time, after lighting one. Since, 4th of July festivities can be just as dangerous as they are fun, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has suggests the  ten following safety tips so people can make sure their holiday festivities don’t involve a trip to the emergency room.

4th of July Firework and BBQ Safety Tips

  1. Be sure fireworks are legal in your area before using or buying them.
  2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities and never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers alone account for one quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.
  3. If you set off fireworks, keep a bucket of water handy in case of malfunction or fire.
  4. If fireworks malfunction, don’t relight them! Douse and soak them with water then throw them away.
  5. Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one that is glass or metal.
  6. Use your grill well away from your home and deck railings, and out from under branches or overhangs.
  7. Open your gas grill before lighting.
  8. Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below your gas or propane grill so it cannot be ignited.
  9. Declare a three-foot "kid and pet-free zone" around the grill to keep them safe.
  10. Avoid loose clothing that can catch fire when cooking on the grill.
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In 2016 alone, US hospitals treated approximately 11,100 individuals with firework-related injuries, as reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Of those injured, 69% were treated for burns, the most common injury to the body excluding the eye. If the eyes were impacted by fireworks, the damage consisted of, “contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes.” Adults 20 to 24 had the highest rate of firework-related injuries treated in a hospital, followed by children under the age of 5. These statistics are bleak, but they can serve as a powerful reminder that firework accidents should never be underestimated. While it may be a safer option is to leave the fireworks to the professionals and attend a local show instead, many Americans will celebrate this Independence Day in their backyards. For a safe and festive 4th of July, use caution when setting off fireworks, and you won’t have to share your brisket with any firemen who come to the rescue!


Firework shows are spectacular, and an exciting part of Fourth of July celebrations. Even if they are handled by professionals, viewers, and their vehicles must be located far enough away from the fallout zone to avoid firework-related injuries. Designated parking and viewing areas, when available, may provide a safe distance from flying debris. But with the heavy flow of traffic, they may be fully occupied. If a safe viewing area is not an option, try to find a spot as far from where the show will take place as possible, and be on alert of  other drivers also trying to find a place to park. If you or someone you know has been injured due to another person’s negligence, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC for a free consultation today at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our Michigan accident attorneys are ready to help!

Flint Water Festival Raises Awareness for Flint Water Crisis

While many Michiganders were lighting fireworks and firing up the grill over Fourth of July weekend, the city of Flint hosted its second annual Flint Water Festival to raise awareness for its water crisis and failing infrastructure. As reported by MLive, the festival took place at Riverbank Park in Downtown Flint and consisted of music, a waterworks art program, a F.A.M.E. motivational panel, and fireworks in celebration of Independence Day. Local artists such as Lyric Da Queen, played for Flint residents for 8 hours at the park’s amphitheater. The festival also provided free children's books for families and inflatable bounce houses for kids to have fun.

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The Flint Water Crisis

If you have not heard by now, the city of Flint has been without clean water for three years. Per NPR, The crisis started in 2014 after the city decided to cut its water supply from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and build its own pipeline that would be connected to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA). This move was projected to save the city an estimated $200 million over 25 years. A year after the announcement was made to switch water suppliers in April 2013, the city of Detroit cut the supply of water to Flint. On April 25, 2014, Flint decided to use the Flint River as its water supply while the pipeline was being constructed. Shortly after the switch to the Flint River, water pipe corrosion became noticeable. After this discovery, tests were done and it was discovered that lead contaminants and bacteria such as E. coli were present in the water. Since April of 2014, Flint residents have had to live without clean running water. 

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Flint Water Crisis Aid

Last year, the first Flint Water Festival was created to inspire the children affected by the water crisis. This year the festival focused on the continued endeavor of raising awareness about what the city has been going through for the past three years. A point of emphasis was the necessity for better infrastructure. 

Luckily, the city’s calls have not been completely ignored. According to Snopes, in March, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a $100-million grant to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to aid in the improvement of drinking water infrastructure. Just recently, on June 30, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that $15-million will be donated the Genesee County Healthy Start Program. Read more about the donation on The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC Blog.

According to Money, the city has also received countless generous donations in the form of money and bottles of water. The most notable donations have come from big name celebrities such as Eminem and Mark Wahlberg, and professional athletes including Detroit Lions' defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. 

The Future of Flint

There is hope for the City of Flint. The residents have certainly shown that they are strong enough to overcome the crisis. In March of 2016, a plan was enacted outlining Flint’s recovery. According to Reuters, highlights of this plan include special medical attention for children under the age of 6 with high contents of lead in their blood, opening three new child health care centers, and replacing contaminated water faucets in numerous public facilities. The plan is also said to provide continued replacement of water pipes, more options for mortgage financing for undervalued homes, and new training programs to at least 500 resident for long-term employment. Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, said primary focuses of the plan are the improvement of children’s health care, expanding support of Flint Schools, and the city’s economic development. 


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a Birmingham, Michigan personal injury firm. Our firm handles personal injury lawsuits throughout the state. Call 844.464.3476 today to speak to an experienced injury attorney today. We offer free consultations and honest and fair legal representation.

Record Travel Numbers Expected for 4th of July Weekend

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It’s that time of the year again to put on your festive USA attire, break out the sparklers, and fire up the grill. It is America’s birthday and experts are predicting a record setting number of people traveling for the 4th of July weekend. According to a national survey cited by The Detroit News, 44.2 million people are estimated to be traveling at least 50 miles away from their home. This number comes as a 2.9% increase from last year’s record breaking travel numbers (42.9 million people).

Travel Breakdown

An estimated 37.5 million Americans will be driving to their destinations to celebrate Independence Day. 3.4 million people are predicted to be traveling by air, a 4.6% increase from last year. This marks the 8th straight year in which air travel has been presumed to rise. The survey forecasts that car rental prices will be reduced by 14% and popular domestic flights will be reduced by 10% over the holiday weekend.  

This year’s holiday is classified as a 4-day weekend from Friday to Tuesday.

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Why Is Travel Predicted To Increase?

Fortune states that a growing economy, increased consumer confidence and low gas prices are all factors contributing to the record setting travel predictions. The average U.S. price for gasoline sits at $2.28 per gallon, four cents lower than last year.

Fourth of July Safety

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The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays of the year. The holiday accounts for 40% of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in the past 5 years. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over the 2015 July 4th weekend, 238 people were killed in car accidents with at least one driver who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08. Given the record amount of people expected to drive to their travel destinations this year, there is a heightened risk that a few individuals will choose to drive drunk over the holiday weekend. Be very cautious of reckless driving and always make the smart decision to drive sober.


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that in 2015, over 10,000 people died in drunk driving related accidents. If you have been in a drunk driving related accident or accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Speak with an experienced attorney and receive a free consultation. 

Are Americans The Worst Drivers In The World?

Source: GIPHY

Source: GIPHY

The United States is known for its enthusiastic love of American football, for popularizing the juicy hamburger, and for its all American privilege of freedom for all. What the US can't proudly brag about however are its citizens' bad driving habits, commonly characterized by cell phone usage and the consumption of snacks and drinks while behind the wheel. The frequency of car accidents on US roads is constantly in the news. In fact, ABC News reported that there were over 41,000 deaths on American roads in 2015 alone. As tragic as this statistic is and as commonplace a stereotype about bad American driving is, surprisingly, American drivers are only in the middle of the pack when it comes to road safety.

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Perhaps it's due to different driver’s license requirements and road organization from country to country, that many other countries come out on the better side of traffic fatality statistics than the US. This may especially be because distracted driving is not as common in these countries as it is in the United States. Germany in particular comes out on top as a safer driving country than the US despite the fact that their road speeds regularly reach 140 mph on the autobahns. Distracted driving is a danger that millions of Americans participate in daily, that may lead to severe injuries or traffic fatalities. However, because German drivers tend to obey road rules more than Americans, and are less likely to be distracted by activities that take their eyes off the road when they are traveling at such high speeds, they are generally safer drivers. 

Another reason Germany has more safe drivers may be due to the training Germans receive prior to becoming certified to drive. In Germany, there is a more difficult path to earning a driver’s license, involving a tougher written test, and required road tests in four different types of driving environments before allowing people to get a driver’s license, at age 18. On the other hand, each US state has their own age requirements for receiving a license, typically allowing teens to becoming licensed at age 16, following driver’s education classes and a basic road test. On top of stricter German license requirements, new drivers in Germany are essentially on probation for two years and in the event that they receive a traffic infraction, are booted back to driving classes.

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Even stricter than Germany, Japan carefully polices written and road tests, only allowing drivers to skip their road test if they take a $2,500 driving course. The country is so specific on their driving requirements that, coupled with excellent public transit systems, many people avoid driving altogether. Then there is Iceland, which requires driving in snow and ice to be a part of the road test. Some US States, including Michigan, could benefit from adding this type of practice to their road tests for optimal winter driving safety!

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Great Britain also appears to have safer drivers than in the US, possibly because the country has fewer freeways going through city centers than American cities do. This means that there are fewer high speed auto collisions as a whole. Heavy congestion in British cities also doesn’t allow many people behind the wheel in Great Britain to be able to get up to the speeds typically needed for fatal collisions. Andrew Howard, head of road safety for Great Britain says, “Our plummet in road deaths in recent years has been particularly in urban areas. You now can’t get up the speed to have them."

The famous British 'stiff upper lip' has also been attributed as a reason that car accidents are not as prevalent in Great Britain, as British drivers maintain their emotions and don't exhibit aggressive driving behavior, which in the US usually leads to road rage car accidents. An American expatriate living in London for the past 11 years explained, “You still have very much more courtesy and abiding by the rules in England. Someone will go zipping by at 100 [mph] , but they’ll do it in the appropriate lane."

While many countries have better safe driving records than America, there are still others that have worse car crash statistics. Unlike the other European countries mentioned in this article, Portuguese streets are almost twice as deadly as American roads. Turkey's driving conditions were described in a US State Department 'driver safety briefing' as, “pedestrians seemingly completely oblivious to oncoming traffic … vehicles backing up (in reverse) on exit ramps and on main highways … [and] oncoming drivers who play inscrutable light games, flashing and flashing whether you have your ‘brights’ [high beams] on or not.” 

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Perhaps worse than bad driving skills are the bad behaviors of Russian drivers who often bribe the police to get out of traffic tickets and driving under the influence of alcohol, and to drive unlicensed vehicles. Sergius Morenc, an ABCNEWS correspondent in Moscow, said, "there are, of course, standards and rules to be followed, but nobody follows them...If somebody breaks down, say, in the fast lane, he will take his spare wheel out or start working on the engine where he stopped." 
Finally, the United States still has safer roads than South Korea, the worst country to drive in, because highways are desperately in need of repair due to constant car accidents which occur when roads are congested.

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So, the truth comes out: Americans are not really the worst drivers in the world. But, stereotypes are hard to shake, which is maybe why many Europeans still wonder if Americans are the worst drivers. Nevertheless, the US could do with less distracted driving driving car accidents. Americans should stop participating in lengthy group chats, stop finessing their Pandora playlists, or eating a three course meal while in the driver’s seat. Speedy driving also needs to be reduced in order to have safer American roads and to reduce the number of fatal speeding car collisions. Overall, driving policies are criteria that vary no matter where one is in the world, but it is the need to travel between destinations that unites all people to rally for vehicle safety.


Driving is a universal action. Humans also universally display tendencies of speeding, distracted driving, and other actions that may lead to dangerous motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident and call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We offer free consultations for victims of motor vehicle collisions. Contact us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM.