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For many people, Memorial Day is a time to celebrate freedom, in more ways than one. We salute the U.S. veterans who sacrificed to preserve and protect us. And many of us celebrate freedom of the road on this holiday.
The unofficial kick-off for summer, Memorial Day weekend is one of the heaviest for traffic, which translates into more accidents. More than 470 people were killed during Memorial Day weekend in 2009, the most recent year for which such data is available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Protect your family with these safe driving tips from the NHTSA:
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol and driving is always a bad mix. Every day, nearly 30 people in the U.S. die in a motor-vehicle crash involving an alcohol-impaired driver. If you have teen drivers, learn how to talk to them about alcohol.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. If Memorial Day weekend means a road trip for you and the gang, make sure your tires are ready to endure the marathon. A hot traveling surface can take its toll.
- Check your windshield. Make sure your view is clear and your wipers are in good shape. A sudden summer storm will hinder visibility more rapidly if there’s a coat of grime or dust on the windshield.
- Never leave kids unattended. Don’t leave your children in the car, even if you’re just running into the store for sunscreen. Temperatures inside an automobile can increase to deadly levels quickly.
- Rest up. To stay alert on your trip, get plenty of rest before you leave. Allow plenty of time to get to your destination to avoid aggravation, and keep yourself hydrated by bringing water with you.