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Memorial Day weekend to see increase in motorists

The promise of warmer weather and the memories of the atrocious winter have primed many Americans to travel this Memorial Day weekend. But highway travel always comes with a price, and that price may include more than the cost of gas.

An estimated 382 could die in car accidents this weekend, beginning Friday night through Monday evening. In addition, the AAA projects that more than 40,000 injuries will occur that will require some medical attention.

The traffic on the road will feel heavier because it will be heavier, with a post-recession high of 31.8 million people driving more than 50 miles over the weekend. Here in Columbia, there is likely to be increased traffic heading down to the Ozarks for the weekend, including many travelers from other parts of Missouri.

Nothing will ruin your holiday weekend faster than having a car accident before you even leave the city limits of Columbia, so give yourself extra time and take it easy. You don't want to have to speak to your insurance agent or a car accident attorney.

Traffic on Friday afternoon is likely to be heavy and the roads could be jammed with car, boat and recreational vehicles, which will slow things down even more. Avoid the stress by leaving early or, perhaps, later. You may not arrive much later and you may be much more relaxed.

And in these conditions, there will be less room for error, so don't drink and drive, and let a passenger do the talking if you need to call someone. Distracted driving is all the more dangerous when traffic is congested and you may have to suddenly stop.

In addition, wear your seatbelt; it will increase your chances of surviving an accident and law enforcement will be looking for violations with the Click it or Ticket program.

Source: Cars.com, "AAA Forecasts Increase in Memorial Day Weekend Traffic," Jennifer Geiger, May 21, 2014

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