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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – We’re less than 48 hours away from the 4th of July holiday weekend and there’s an added incentive to drive with care.

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This year Independence Day falls on a Saturday, which is the deadliest day of the week on roadways, and statistically, Insurance Council of Texas spokesman Mark Hanna explained that compared to any day of the year, “Unfortunately July 4th is the deadliest day to travel.”

According to Hanna, July Fourth has been the deadliest travel day for decades. Researchers looked at accident statistics and found that on average, 148 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes on July 4. A typical day has an average of 114 traffic deaths.

Combining 4th of July averages and the fact the holiday falls on a weekend, experts are warning that this could be the deadliest day in years for drivers. Some are predicting that as many as 409 Americans will be killed on the road this July 4th weekend.

While highway fatalities nationally have been on the decline, Hanna says that isn’t the case here in Texas. “Our traffic fatalities have started to go the other direction, it has a lot to do with our economy [and] a lot of people on the roadway.”

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Officials with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggest that more people are on the road July 4th and are driving longer distances. Hanna agreed saying, “Being the summer… being a Saturday… being in a celebratory mood, July 4th is just a deadly day to travel and we can only warn people to drive defensively.”

Alcohol also plays a role in accidents and fatal Independence Day crashes. The July Fourth holiday has the second highest rate of alcohol related crashes — 41 percent – only outdone by deadly crashes on New Year’s Day at 49 percent.

“You just should remind yourself of your responsibilities… and to be careful. If you’ve been drinking pass the wheel over to somebody else,” Hanna urged.

Safety experts offered some advice to help lessen your likelihood of becoming a victim this weekend:

•  Wear your seat belt.
•  Place children in appropriate safety seats.
•  Obey the speed limit.
•  Avoid distracted driving behavior while behind the wheel.
•  And, of course, don’t drink and drive.

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