Personal freedom means responsibility

July second, third and fourth are the three most dangerous days to be driving.

According to a study released by the University’s Center for Excellence in Rural Safety, July 2, 3 and 4 are the most dangerous days to be driving. Two-lane highways in rural areas have increased danger. As another Independence Day rolls around, many Minnesotans will be heading out of town to visit friends and family. We must all keep in mind our safety as well as others’ during this busy week.

Although Minnesota didn’t make the top of the list of states with the highest fatality rates on rural roads, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa did. Researchers think reasons for the high numbers are the sense of false security that comes with less traffic and more to look at out the window.

Indeed, the Fourth of July is filled with celebration. People reunite with extended family members and there are barbecues, drinking, and fireworks to see. While these activities are intended for celebration, we must keep safety in mind. As always, don’t drink and drive a car or a boat, read the instructions on all fireworks and use caution when on the roads.

Just last Friday, two young Minnesotans collided while driving personal water scooters, resulting in the death of 14-year-old Brian Ammerman of Chisago City. Although personal watercraft accidents resulting in death are rare – about 1 each year in Minnesota – this accident should serve as an obvious warning to protect ourselves and one another by staying alert and using caution and responsible actions.

Many members of the University community and the state of Minnesota have plans to celebrate the Fourth of July with family and friends. It is important to draw attention to the reasons that we celebrate and to how we can use the freedom we have to make life better for our society.