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Much of Tennessee is immune from the hard winters that some of the country receives. While snow does fall, drivers here won’t have to worry about a foot of standing snow on the road during the cold months. Still, inclement weather, including ice and snow on the roads, can certainly lead to crashes in Tennessee and other states. Believe it or not, however, the winter isn’t the most dangerous time to be on the road.

The summer, specifically July 3rd and 4th, are the most dangerous days on the road all year. There are many factors that contribute to this risk, but awareness of the extra danger on these days can help keep you and your loved ones safe when driving or riding in motor vehicles this summer.

Impaired driving is a contributing factor in many crashes

Independence Day is one of the most popular national holidays, with many Americans receiving the day off of work every year. People celebrate by having BBQs in their backyards, watching the kids run with sparklers and driving to nearby towns to watch large fireworks displays. Many people also choose to include alcohol or even drugs in their holiday celebrations, which can cause issues later if they need to drive home.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reviewed and tracked crash data since 1975. Overall, fatal collisions can occur on any day at any time. However, days that are also holidays (or right before holidays) often see an increase in traffic collisions and drunk driving. July 4th and 3rd remain the first and second deadliest days to drive across all years with data analyzed.

Teen drivers may also contribute to dangers on the road

During the school year, teen drivers are only on the road before and after school. For a large portion of each weekday, the roads are relatively free of youthful drivers. During the summer, however, those teens have a lot more freedom which translates to a lot more time behind the wheel. Some kids are just heading to the beach or parties with friends, while others need to commute to a summer job.

Nine of the ten deadliest days for teen drivers each year fall between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, in a period some call “the 100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers. A combination of free time, distractions caused by friends or smart phones and the potential for alcohol consumption at parties makes the summer a particularly dangerous time for teens on the road.

Knowing these risks can help you and your family avoid the most dangerous times on the road, or at least ensure that you take extra care on days where risk is highest.