With the Fourth falling on a Friday, just about everyone except for newspaper reporters and police will enjoy a three-day weekend.
While having three days off might seem like a short vacation, it can also pose some dangers that we should all heed.
If you're going to a state where just about all fireworks are allowed, such as South Dakota or Wisconsin, heed the warnings posted on the devices. Children should be particularly monitored around fireworks.
Boating safety is another thing to be wary of during the holiday. If you're a regular boater, you already know the rules. But heeding them is even more important. Regardless of the size of watercraft, every person should WEAR a flotation device.
And if you're in the sun, make sure you wear sunscreen protection. Three or four severe sunburns in a person's youth can result in melanoma in later life. It's just not worth the risk. So wear that sunscreen, cover up and best of all, stay out of the sun in the middle of the day if at all possible.
Undoubtedly, law enforcement will be out in force, so no one should need to be warned about drinking and driving. You can bet though that there will be a number of people who will pay the price for doing that over the holidays. Penalties are stiff, wherever you're at. So again, remember that it's just not worth it to be charged with drinking while driving a motor vehicle or a boat.
It's also a good idea to be careful with motorized recreational vehicles like ATVs and motorcycles, especially if a person isn't used to operating them. It seems like the Fourth is a time when accidents spike - often because people are operating vehicles with which they're not familiar.
Using a little common sense - and caution - can help prevent a tragedy this Fourth. So please, be careful.