Watauga County Sheriff Reminds Citizens To Make July 4th Holiday A Safe One

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With the July 4th weekend approaching, Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman asks all citizens to join him in making this Fourth of July holiday happy, enjoyable and safe for everyone.

Citizens should remember that fireworks, as enjoyable as they are to watch, can be dangerous and should only be handled by professionals. According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, there are nearly 9,000 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks a year. You can enjoy a safe Fourth of July by following these safety tips:

• Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
• Keep a supply of water close-by as a precaution.
• Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
• Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
• Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
• Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.

Sheriff Hagaman reminds all Watauga County residents to follow these safe driving tips:

• Drive defensively. Defensive driving saves lives, time, and money in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.

• Don’t be a distracted driver. Cell phones are a major cause of driver distractions. Please do not text and drive.

• You should pull out into the opposite lane of traffic when passing while you are still well behind the car in front. This should give you some time and space to build up speed and will enable you to pull back into your own lane should the need arise. Never cut abruptly out of your lane into the opposite lane when passing.

• Always signal your intentions with your brake lights, turn signals, horn and/or headlights so that other drivers will see you well before you change course.

• Drivers should always “aim high” in steering. That is, you should glance frequently at points well ahead of you. Not only will this help your steering, but it will also help you check the position of vehicles in front of you as well as on-coming ones.

• Never follow too close. Remember that, as your speed increases, it takes you substantially longer to stop. Also remember that it’s good to have an extra cushion of space in front of you if you’re being tail-gated, on a slippery road, or in low visibility conditions.

“Lastly, I would remind all motorists to practice the Golden rule when driving. Be courteous and tolerant of other drivers. “Let’s make this summer a safe one on the roads in Watauga County.”

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