COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 28, 2019) – Fireworks, cook outs, road trips and boating are all common Independence Day activities that carry costly risks. AAA Ohio Auto Club Insurance Agency offers advice to avoid dangerous and expensive mishaps while celebrating this 4th of July.
1. Drunk Driving
On average, drunk driving crashes kill one person every 45 minutes in the United States. As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign, the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s primary focus during the Independence Day holiday weekend will be removing impaired drivers from the roadways. Last year in Ohio, four fatal crashes killed eight people during the July Fourth holiday weekend. Of those fatalities, one crash and three fatalities were OVI related.
To prevent impaired driving this holiday, Ohioans should:
.Plan ahead: Designate a sober driver, or call a cab or ride-sharing service.
.Host responsibly: Serve non-alcoholic drinks and be aware that Ohio’s host liability law holds those who serve alcohol liable if their drunken guests are involved in a crash on the way home. Homeowners insurance policies may cover this liability, but it can be avoided by making sure nobody drives home drunk.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, some 5,700 grill fires take place on residential properties every year. Most are caused by malfunctioning gas grills. These fires cause an average of $37 million in damage annually, and send thousands to the emergency room with burns. When grilling at a park or at home, remember:
.Place your grill at least 10 feet away from walls or tents
.Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
.Cook food thoroughly
.Never leave a grill burning unattended
.Clean grease from the grill and grill trays
If a grill fire occurs, a standard homeowners insurance policy will typically cover the damage. The liability portion of the policy will also cover any burns or food-borne illnesses suffered by your guests. If a hot grill catches your vehicle on fire, the comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy can help cover the damage.
Ohio law requires a license to discharge large fireworks, but sparklers and smoke bombs, which are legal in Ohio, can still cause damage or injury if not used responsibly.
“Nearly one third of all firework injuries are related to sparklers,” said Ed Conley, director, Insurance and Financial Services at AAA Ohio Auto Club. “While they won’t be the most exciting display you’ll see over the holiday, it’s important to take steps to minimize their risk.”
AAA Ohio Auto Club Insurance Agency recommends Ohioans:
.Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks. If you’re unsure, check the Ohio Revised Code.
.Know your fireworks: Have a good understanding of how it will perform before setting it off.
.Supervise all children with fireworks: even sparklers can burn up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
.Keep a water bucket or hose nearby
“If you’ll be enjoying Independence Day on the water, safety is key,” said Conley. “Taking a few extra steps before you head out can ensure your day on the lake goes off with a bang.”
.Check all lights: If you plan to be out after the sun goes down, it’s critical that others can see you.
.Check life jackets: Make sure they’re in good condition and you have enough for each person onboard.
.Carry a fire extinguisher: Even something as small as a sparkler can start a fire. Make sure your extinguisher is not outdated and is easily accessible.
.Have proper registration and certificate: If you’re operating a boat powered by more than 10 horsepower in Ohio and you were born after 1982, you’re required to obtain an education certificate.
.Have proper insurance: Make sure your insurance policy is up to date and you have the right policy for your watercraft. If you’re unsure, talk with your insurance agent before hitting the lake.