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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Jun 30, 2010

In just a few days, it will be the Fourth of July, a time to make family memories.

Whether those memories are good or bad is entirely up to you.

Good memories consist of family picnics, boating on the lake, maybe attending the flight breakfast or seeing the parade in Armstrong.

And then there are the bad things.

Invariably, those bad things often revolve around the impact of alcohol abuse.

You had better believe it, the Iowa Highway Patrol will be out in force this holiday weekend, and patrol officers will be on the watch for people who are over the limit for drinking and driving. At a maximum .08 blood alcohol content level for Iowa drivers, it can take just a few beers, glasses of wine or drinks to reach that level.

That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid drinking and driving, whatever amount of alcohol you have had. Even a small amount can impair your judgment and delay your reaction time, possibly making the difference between being able to brake for an accident or being involved in one. So find a designated driver in advance – or else do the drinking at home.

The same thing goes for boating. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Safe driving is just as important – if not more – on the water as it in on land. Boating has the added threat of possible drowning if one is involved in a mishap. So if you’re bringing along a cooler in the boat, make sure the driver has a water or soft drink for refreshments.

Fireworks, which are largely illegal in Iowa except for a few items and for those who have special fireworks permits in rural areas, can also pose a hazard. Of course, alcohol and fireworks never mix. But beyond that, please follow all laws governing the possession and discharge of fireworks. If what you’re planning on doing is illegal, then don’t do it.

And please, please keep fireworks away from very young children who may not realize the danger of discharging fireworks.

With a little planning, care and consideration for others, this Fourth of July can be one of the best ever. Don’t spoil it with a tragedy. But do enjoy it with your family.

And have a safe and happy Fourth!