NSC urges drivers to take caution over Memorial Day weekend

The National Safety Council (NSC) released its estimates for the amount of car accidents that may occur over the Memorial Day weekend, which starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 24, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 28.

The group says 420 traffic fatalities and 42,000 reported injuries are expected over the holiday, which signals the kickoff to summer and often sees parties and celebrations. The council also estimates 149 people could survive accidents because of proper seat belt use.

In the last six years, the three-day weekend has averaged 11.5 percent more traffic fatalities than similar non-holiday periods, which is most likely due to higher travel activity.

To keep the chance of having an accident to a minimum, the NSC recommends refraining from all cell phone use while driving, driving defensively and cautiously, and to avoid driving drowsy. A designated driver should always be used, as even moderate alcohol consumption impairs reaction time and driving abilities.

All motorists should keep an accident kit in their vehicle in the event of a crash. The package should include reflective triangles, a first aid kit, and other safety equipment.

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