Fourth of July weekend is one of the most dangerous times of the year in the United States. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest days in the year for motorists.

More fires are reported on Independence Day than any other day in the year, according to the National Fire Protection Agency.

But where you are could determine how safe you are. Some states are particularly vulnerable to wildfires and highway accidents. Other states are much safer from these threats.

California Among Most Dangerous on Fourth of JulyAs it turns out, California ranked No. 4 among the most dangerous states during Independence Day, according to  ASecureLife. California ranked the highest of all states for wildfires, about 8,000 fires and more than a million acres burned. California has a low risk for fatal road crashes though.

In the Coachella Valley, Cathedral City is one of four communities in the Coachella Valley that allows “Safe and Sane” fireworks to be ignited to celebrate the Fourth of July. The other communities are Desert Hot Springs, Indio, and Coachella.  They will be sold in Cathedral City this year beginning at noon on June 28 through midnight on July 4.

By definition, “Safe and Sane” fireworks are fountains, sparklers, smokeballs, snake-type fireworks, ground-spinning fireworks, pinwheels, most novelty fireworks, toy-trick noisemakers, and some crackling items—basically anything that doesn’t explode on the ground or in the air. Any aerial or exploding device is considered illegal and is subject to a fine.

“The high fire risk was the single biggest contributor to California’s ranking as the fourth most dangerous state during the Fourth of July,” Andrea Harvey of ASecureLife told Uken Report. “We looked at the number of acres burned by 2018 wildfires per 100,000 acres of land area for each state, and California had the most. Residents will want to be extra cautious with fireworks this week, considering that statistics show more fires are reported on the Fourth than any other day of the year in the U.S.

Harvey said the organization also compared the traffic fatality rate on holidays, with Independence Day weighted the heaviest, and California was close to average in that respect.

“Average, however, isn’t necessarily a good thing,” Harvey told Uken Report. “Nationwide, the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest days of the year on the road due to drunk driving, and it seems that California’s traffic fatality rate reflects that trend. Our best advice for anyone is to simply stay off the roads if you can, especially in the evening. Just because you are sober, doesn’t mean the drivers around you are. You can never be too safe.”

Oklahoma ranked as the most dangerous state during the Fourth of July. It has a high wildfire risk—about 1,700 acres per 100,000 burned in 2018— and a high rate of traffic deaths for Independence Day weekend; there were about 2.5 highway deaths per million residents.

Oregon was a close second, with a worse road score than Oklahoma. It had 3.3 highway deaths per million residents but a lower risk for wildfires. Some states made it into the top five most dangerous mostly due to just one factor—either highway deaths or wildfires.

Mississippi landed as the third-most dangerous state because it had the highest rate of holiday traffic fatalities out of all 50 states with 19.1 highway deaths per million residents. West Virginia also made it into the top 10 mostly for a bad holiday road crash score, 16.1 traffic fatalities per million residents. Neither state had a high risk for wildfires.

Image Sources

  • Forest fire: Image by skeeze from Pixabay
  • Most Dangerous States for Fourth of July: A Secure Life