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A reminder to drive safely over the Memorial Day weekend

Right now, an innumerable number of people across the U.S. are anxiously watching the clock and trying their very hardest to wrap up their work as quickly as possible so that they can get a head start on the Memorial Day weekend.

While many of these people will spend the three-day weekend in the comfort of their own home, many others will be embarking on some type of trip to get away from it all. Indeed, AAA estimates that the 2015 Memorial Day weekend will see over 37 million people travel 50-plus miles from home, the highest number in a decade.

AAA also estimates that over 88 percent of these travelers -- upwards of 33 million people -- will be taking some type of road trip over the holiday weekend, encouraged by lower gas prices and a stronger economy.

Closer to home, AAA projects that over one million North Carolina residents will be hitting the highway for Memorial Day, meaning you can expect to see heavier traffic levels across the state during peak travel times such as this afternoon and evening, and all day Monday.

With this increase in traffic naturally comes an increase in the risk of serious and even fatal car accidents. As such, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is reminding motorists of some very simple yet very effective traffic safety tips:

  • Observe the posted speed limit
  • Minimize distractions, including cellphones and electronic devices
  • Don't drink and drive under any circumstances
  • Always wear your seatbelt (it's the law)

It's worth noting that the Memorial Day holiday also marks the official start of the summer driving season, which, according to the State Highway Patrol, saw 264 fatal motor vehicle accidents and over 9,000 motor vehicle accidents resulting in personal injuries last year.

Given figures like these, it's imperative that all motorists -- especially teen drivers who will be out in greater numbers -- make safe driving a priority over the coming months. 

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