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Safety tips for fireworks, grilling, boating, driving for the 4th of July

CHARLOTTE – This weekend may be the beginning of vacation for some families, with the Fourth of July coming up next week. More people will be out and about, around pools or the lake, cooking out or staring a road trip. AAA Carolinas offers safety tips to celebrate responsibly.

Firework Safety
• Never point fireworks of any kind at yourself or others.

• Only light fireworks on the ground and in areas that are fire resistant.

• Make sure only adults light fireworks and be mindful of the children that are around.

• Keep a fire extinguisher and source of water nearby.

• Do not let your pets get too close to any fireworks. Consider leaving them inside to avoid spooking them into running away.

• Call emergency personnel immediately if something catches fire or someone is hit with a firework.

Grill Safety
• Keep your grill at least two feet away from flammable structures – such as decks, siding and trees.

• Keep children away from grills.

• Properly dispose of hot coals per the instructions of your grill.

• Never grill indoors or in an enclosed area.

Water Safety
• When boating, make sure every passenger is wearing a life jacket.

• Make sure the driver of the boat is properly licensed and has an emergency kit on board (stored safely).

• At the pool, keep a vigilant eye on all small children and avoid distractions that will take your attention away from the pool.

• Pools should be enclosed completely to restrict access to small children that are unsupervised.

AAA Carolinas expects more than 2 million Carolinians to be traveling this holiday weekend, which means heavy traffic and a higher risk for collision. In order to get you and your passengers to your destination safely, AAA recommends the following safety tips.

Before hitting the road:
• Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained. Check the battery life, engine coolant and tire pressure.

• Map your route in advance. Have the directions printed out or designate a passenger to be in charge of phone directions to avoid the distraction behind the wheel.

• Consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.

• Keep anything of value in the trunk or hidden in the car so that it is not visible through the windows.

• If you’re traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers on your pit-stops and accompany them to restrooms during stops.

• Have roadside assistance contact information on hand, in case an incident occurs on the road.

• Keep a cell phone (fully charged) safely secured in your vehicle for emergency calls.

• Have an emergency kit complete with water, medicine, snacks, jumper cables and a first aid kit.
During the trip:

• Never drive distracted. Put the phone away. Disconnect and Drive. Avoid behaviors such as eating, applying make-up and adjusting the navigation system while driving.

• Always wear your seatbelt.

• Don’t speed. Drive according to the weather and road conditions.

• With extreme heat projected in the forecast across most of the Carolinas, remember to NEVER leave your children or pets in the car, even for a short amount of time. The vehicle will heat much quicker and to a temperature much higher than outside.

• If you encounter rain and wet roads:
◦ Avoid cruise control (when driving in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle increases in cruise control mode)
◦ Slow down and leave room. Avoid hard braking or turning sharply and give yourself ample stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance.
◦ If you feel your car begin to skid, continue to look and steer in the direction in which you want the car to go and avoid slamming on the brakes as this will upset balance.

• Expect heavy traffic and delays, as the roads will be busy. Avoid road rage by using turn signals, maintaining a good distance behind the vehicle in front of you and never engaging in interactions with other drivers. Exercise patience and understanding.

• Never drink and drive or get in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.

• Obey the Move Over Law when passing emergency vehicles on the side of the road.

For the latest on construction delays, go to the North Carolina Department of Transportation website, www.NCDOT.gov. Click on Travel & Maps and then on the Traveler Information Management System for up-to-date traffic information related to closed travel lanes, accidents or expected congestion.

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