Staying safe this Independence Day

Children wave flags at the 2013 Jefferson City 4th of July Parade.

The Fourth of July is traditionally a time for outdoor celebrations, but it's important to keep safety in mind when heading out to enjoy the day.

As people flock to the Lake of the Ozarks, highways become crowded and drivers have to be vigilant to avoid accidents.

"You have so many people headed down to a certain area that the traffic becomes very heavy, they follow too closely and their speed is too fast. So if we can eliminate those two things that'll keep people safe," Sergeant Paul Reinsch of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.

Sgt. Reinsch added that cars should be inspected before heading out on a road trip.

This Fourth of July, Sgt. Reinsch said troopers will be out ready to assist people with vehicle problems.

"Every 20 miles along major interstates we have a trooper that's working not only to promote traffic laws, but they're also there to help individuals if they're having car trouble as well," he said.

But even when you're not on the road, you have to thinking of your health and staying hydrated.

"Always the standard rule is to avoid alcohol, but drink lots of fluids. If you have any strenuous things to them early in the day before the heat gets up too much. But yeah, lots of water, gatorade," Dr. Jake Tomblinson from Capital Region Medical Center said.

If you will be drinking alcohol, Tomblinson said you should be sure to alternate with non-alcoholic fluids frequently.

If you do start to feel overheated or hydrated, be sure to seek out a cooler area immediately.

"One of the things that helps, if you have wet clothes on...real sweaty...get those off. Once your clothes get wet you can't evaporate any more heat. But the main thing is just get in a cool place and drink some cool fluids," Tomblinson said.

He also added that people planning on spending time outside should wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50. It's up to parents to remember to apply sunscreen frequently on their children.