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Tips for safe Memorial Day driving

Soon Memorial Day will kick off the summer of 2016 in North Carolina and elsewhere, meaning that the roads will be clotted with families and individuals heading out to holiday destinations.

Below are some tips for safer road trips this summer offered by AAA and other organizations.

-- Before leaving home, test the vehicle's components to make sure that they are working properly. Better to learn now that the air conditioning doesn't work than halfway to your destination.

-- Make sure that your vehicle has been serviced recently and is well-maintained. Doing so can make the difference between a fun weekend at the shore and hours spent in the breakdown lane waiting for a tow.

-- Be aware of the damage that high temperatures can cause on vehicles. Overheated engines, worn out brakes and other problems can be attributed to heat stress, according to the federal Department of Transportation.

-- Planning your trip ahead of time can save you time and gas expenses, as you can determine the most expedient route to choose.

Remember that there will be many others on the roads during the holiday weekend, and some may be impaired, fatigued or distracted. While driving defensively is a wise idea all of the time, inevitably accidents will occur.

If you are injured in an auto accident, you might decide to file a claim for damages against the at-fault driver who caused the wreck. Should the driver's insurance company balk at paying out your claim, or insist on low-ball offers to settle, you are within your legal rights to file a lawsuit in the North Carolina civil courts.

Source: Boston.com, "7 Safety Tips for Memorial Day Travel," Katy Rushlau, accessed May 20, 2016

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