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Safety tips for summer road trips

Summer is the time that families head out on vacation, to beaches, national parks and other attractions across the nation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides some tips for motorists to have safer driving experiences during the busy summer season.

Before leaving home, NHTSA recommends the following:

-- Do routine and preventive maintenance like checking the battery, rotating tires, changing the oil according to the recommendations from your car's manufacturer.

Once you're out on the highway, keep these tips in mind:

-- Buckle up. Drivers and front seat passengers using shoulder/lap restraints reduce their risk of dying in an accident by 45 percent. Their risk of suffering moderate or critical injuries is reduced by half. Infants who are properly restrained in safety seats have a 71 percent reduced risk of death from a collision. All children younger than 14 should ride in the back seat.

-- Don't imbibe and drive. When alcohol is involved, a designated driver must be behind the wheel at all times. Across the United States, a person dies in an alcohol-related accident every 52 minutes. Don't make it be you or your loved ones.

-- Distracted driving kills. It only takes a few seconds with your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel to cause a fatal collision. Roughly 10 percent of auto fatalities stem from distracted driving. Common distractions include talking or texting on cellphones, engaging technological features on the vehicle or on electronic devices, eating and drinking.

Sometimes no matter how safely you drive, the negligent actions of another driver make an accident inevitable. If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else, you may be eligible for payment of your medical expenses and other costs, including pain and suffering and lost wages.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Consumer Advisory: NHTSA encourages motorists to be prepared before heading out on summer road trips," May. 22, 2015

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