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Summer safety tips for motorists

The summer heat is unrelenting, and many families are heading out of the city toward the Jersey shore, the Hamptons and other vacation destinations. The roads and highways have a higher rate of traffic from now until Labor Day weekend, which increases the likelihood of accidents and injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following suggestions to motorists for safer travels to their destinations near and far this summer.

-- Don't leave home without performing routine maintenance tasks on your vehicle. Air up your tires, change the oil, get a tune up and make sure that all the belts are tightened.

-- Children should ride in the back seat in age- and size-appropriate child and infant car seats.

-- Make a family rule that the car doesn't start until all family members are belted in safely,

-- Never drink and drive. If you are going to wind up drinking, arrange for a car service or designate a sober driver for the evening's festivities. Don't ever get into a car with a driver who has been drinking.

-- Eliminate distractions for the driver. Distracted driving is responsible for almost 10 percent of auto fatalities and 18 percent of damages from injuries. Allow a passenger to operate navigational devices and put your cellphone on mute so you won't be tempted to talk or, worse, text.

-- Stop frequently on longer journeys to rotate drivers and get out and stretch your legs. Pull off the highway to eat meals rather than going through fast food drive-throughs and eating behind the wheel.

-- No matter where your vacation takes you, remember that each state has "Move Over" laws. Motorists must move over to give clearance to emergency vehicles.

Keep in mind that no matter how safely you drive, you have to watch out for the other guy who may not be as prudent. If the worst occurs and an accident happens, you may have to file a claim for damages with the at-fault driver's insurance company.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Consumer Advisory: NHTSA encourages motorists to be prepared before heading out on summer road trips," Kathryn Henry, accessed July 23, 2015

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