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Travel safely this Labor Day

Labor Day is a celebration of workers and the labor movements in the United States and Canada. Often considered the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day prompts many people to travel for one last getaway prior to the arrival of fall.

Labor Day get-togethers with family and friends typically include barbecues and other outdoor activities, and these gatherings may attract loved ones from various areas of the country. The National Safety Council warns that thousands of people will be injured in traffic accidents during the upcoming Labor Day weekend. In recent years, traffic fatalities over Labor Day weekend have averaged around 15 percent higher than in similar, non-holiday periods, says the NSC. In addition, the COVID-19 virus, although diminished, is still at large. Travelers are urged to remain diligent in regard to hygiene and other safety practices. The following tips can help Labor Day travelers stay as safe as possible.

• Call ahead and inquire about any travel restrictions. Many areas of the country have reopened, but it is important to find out if there are restrictions on crowd limits or if certain facilities are closed.

• Book early and leave time for travel. People are increasingly anxious to travel once again, and may wait until the Labor Day holiday to do so. Hotels and other amenities may fill up fast, so book travel plans well in advance and leave ample time for traveling to account for large crowds and busy roadways.

• Enforce a zero tolerance policy for intoxicated driving. Those who are planning to drink should never get behind the wheel. Also, young drivers are at particular risk to be involved in alcohol-related crashes, so teens and underage young adults should not be allowed to drink at parties.

• Limit distractions behind the wheel. Make a policy that the vehicle is a distraction-free zone. This includes keeping the radio low, stowing the driver’s cell phone out of reach so texts or other notifications do not become distractions and helping to keep children occupied so they’re not making a ruckus.

• Exercise caution in inclement weather. Late-summer storms can roll in and cause downpours. Drive slowly and cautiously, pulling over until visibility and conditions improve, if necessary.

These are some ways travelers can emphasize safety as they enjoy Labor Day weekend away from home.