Officials with the West Plains Police Department are calling on motorists to exercise particular caution, considering increased summertime traffic and the resulting increase in car crashes.

As the summer season presses on, more and more motorists will be on the roadways, officers note. With an increased amount of vehicle traffic, so comes an increased amount of motor vehicle crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) refers to the period from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year as the “100 deadliest days,” due to the staggering increase of motor vehicle crash fatalities during that time frame, say police.

With this in mind, the West Plains Police Department offers reminders to ensure drivers and those who ride with them stay safe on the road this summer and during the Fourth of July holiday.

Buckle up. According to 2016 data from NHTSA, the most recent year available, seat belt use saved over 14,000 lives. Before driving, make sure all are using proper safety devices including seat belts and car seats. In Missouri, it’s also the law.

Say no to cell phones. According to NHTSA, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. If it cannot wait, pull off of the roadway before using the phone.

Slow down. As of 2017, according to the Bureau of Transportation, speeding is the number one driver-related factor in highway fatal crashes.

Take a breather. For those traveling long distances, the road can sometimes be a weary place. If you begin to feel tired or even start falling asleep behind the wheel pull off, take a break, stretch your legs and, if possible, switch drivers.

Do not drive drunk or high. The dangers of intoxicated/impaired driving are well known yet every year, people are killed on the roadway across the nation as a result of intoxicated or impaired driving. By designating a driver or using a taxi or ride share service, one can potentially save one’s own life as well as the lives of all motorists.

“Summer time is the time for travel and vacation. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, more people are choosing to hit the road versus the skies,” said department Public Information Officer John Murrell. “We want all who travel in and through our city to do so safely and responsibly.”

For more tips and statistical information, visit the NHTSA website at www.nhtsa.gov.

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