Life, Liberty, and The Best Weekend Ever!

Looking forward to traveling this weekend? We’ll have plenty company this year. We’ll teach you how to manage everything from the traffic to booze to fireworks for a fun, safe, and peaceful summer holiday!

Cost Savings: According to the AAA, 41.9 million of us will be hitting the road for Independence Day, which is a 2% jump from 2014. The long weekend ranks as the single busiest traffic holiday of the year, and it’s getting even worse out there. Why? Researchers say that the gas prices this year have been their lowest since 2007. That makes sense because an estimated 85% plan to take their cars to travel this weekend. Currently, the average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.78, nearly $.90 cheaper than the price travelers paid per gallon in 2014.

Unfortunately, the cost savings from lower gas prices will be counterbalanced by rising lodging rates. For example, a 2-star hotel this season will see a 6% surge in price, compared to a 3-star accommodation which will rise almost 10% in price this year, the AAA predicts. Although only around 15% have booked flights for their 4th of July travel, that minority will face a 6% cost increase, with the average domestic flight hitting just under $230.

Be Aware: Be careful out there! The holiday ushers in the highest number of road fatalities per year, according to Anne Fleming of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. There’s more: Did you know that the Independence Day weekend has the 2nd highest rate of alcohol related crashes among the holidays? When you consider the astronomical beer sales (it’s the 4th biggest holiday for beer sales) on that 3-day weekend, it makes sense that alcohol-related accidents would be on the radar. “It’s a celebration more than just a weekend off, so people tend to celebrate more,” said Jeffrey Spring, spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California. “They tend to try to cram a lot into these weekends and that’s where they get into trouble.” The hot, sunny weather in most of the US doesn’t help much, either: dehydration largely intensifies the effect of alcohol. So if you’re going to drink, try to follow a good rule of thumb and drink twice as many glasses of water as alcoholic beverages. Other tips? Order drinks “on the rocks,” or guzzle water before the main drinking event.

Watch out for fireworks! According to, an average of 200 people land in the emergency room in the month surrounding Independence Day with injuries caused by fireworks. The type of firework most likely to inflict harm? According to statistics, it’s sparklers; and the most common body part to be injured is a finger/hand. Make sure you’re keeping an eye out for children (and adults!) who play with sparklers this holiday season.

Fun Facts: NYC famously puts on a brilliant fireworks show every year for July 4th, but they’re facing competition from a southern city in 2015. Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., told USA Today, “It is not an exact science, but we got a rough idea of how many shells New York had so we told our supplier to make sure he had more shells than New York this year,” in reference to their competition– NYC’s Macy’s Independence Day Parade. Some of us Lexingtonians might make the three-hour car trip to see them this weekend.

Food proves a major player in our July Fourth festivities. According to ABC News, Americans spend an average of $107 million on popsicles and $167 million on watermelons. As a nation, we eat over 155 million hot dogs on this national holiday. With numbers like that, it’s undeniable that Americans love to eat.

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