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Stay safe on the highways this Memorial Day weekend

With Mother's Day 2017 over, family plans have shifted now to the upcoming Memorial Day long weekend. Traditionally viewed as the kick-off to summer, it's often when millions of families take to the highways for weekend getaways.

The American Red Cross offers safety steps for those traveling this year so that nothing occurs to mar the occasion.

-- Before heading out on a road trip, get a good night's sleep. If the trip is long, share driving duties with another adult, or take several breaks.

-- Tell a friend or relative of your destination, planned routed and anticipated arrival time. If anything goes awry, you can be located faster.

-- Start out with a clean vehicle. Wash the windshield, windows and headlight covers so the driver's vision isn't obscured.

-- Top off the fluid levels and air up the tires — including the spare.

-- Insist that all occupants are wearing seat belts or are strapped into approved car seats before the vehicle moves.

-- Never drink and drive. While alcohol often features predominantly at some picnics or barbecues, arrange to spend the night or have a sober driver take the wheel for the drive home.

-- Don't speed. In addition, pay attention to and follow other road rules, such as driving cautiously in work zones. Spring is prime time for road construction projects on interstates and highways.

-- Minimize distractions with navigational devices and cellphones by having the front seat passenger navigate.

-- Don't tailgate the car ahead of you. Leave plenty of room for braking, more during inclement weather.

-- Stop to refuel when the level drops down to about a quarter-tank.

-- If you get into an accident, pull off of the highway (if possible) to avoid a potentially deadly pile-up.

-- Carry a stocked first aid kit in your vehicle.

Remember to drive defensively, as not all drivers will be sober or responsible. If you are injured this Memorial Day weekend, it's important to consider all of the options that you have for compensation.

Source: American Red Cross, "Follow Red Cross Steps for a Safe Memorial Day Trip," accessed May 17, 2017

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