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Traffic Talk: Do your part to make July 4 a safe holiday

Make the Fourth of July holiday a safe one.
By DON GAMMILL Published: July 2, 2012

Here's hoping you will:

Have a great holiday.

Have a safe holiday.

Have a great, safe holiday.

Yes, “great” and “safe” DO go together. You just have to do your part, whether on the road, on the lake, in the air or on the land.

The annual Independence Day holiday always brings out some of the most festive — and rowdiest — celebrants. Safety experts note that the Fourth of July is among the most dangerous holidays, trailing New Year's and just ahead of Memorial Day.

That's because New Year's and Independence Day both are big-time party dates.

But too much partying, or excessive celebrating followed by unsafe practices, can be deadly.

Each year, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, sheriff's offices and police throughout the state are out in force to watch for violators who are speeding, drinking while driving, or disobeying other laws, such as failing to wear a seat belt.

This year will be no different. Expect a visible presence by law enforcement officers.

That includes on Oklahoma lakes. Water safety is a must on lakes with increased numbers of visitors.

The American Red Cross and the highway patrol, which handles the lakes, recommend boaters and other water enthusiasts practice these safety rules:

The American Red Cross has issued several water safety tips for the holiday festivities and for all summer long.

• Remember that alcohol and boating (as well as all other activities on the water) do not mix. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination. According to Red Cross statistics, 50 percent of drownings are a result of incidents involving alcohol.

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