Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — With more than 37 million motorists projected to take to the roadways this Memorial Day weekend, the N.C. State Highway Patrol is encouraging drivers to plan ahead before traveling.

Regardless of the intended destination, an increase in motor vehicle travel is expected which may lead to congestion on major interstate, U.S. and N.C. highways. AAA Travel predicts that the number of people who will travel at least 50 miles away from home will increase by 60 percent in comparison to last year. With this in mind, troopers will be out in full force to monitor driver behavior in an attempt to reduce collisions that occur from high speeds, impaired and distracted driving, and lack of seat belt use.

Using the Vision Zero approach, law enforcement officials hope to report zero fatal collisions throughout the holiday weekend.

In an attempt to discourage impaired driving on both roadways and waterways, SHP has combined forces with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Law Enforcement Division, participating in the annual “On the Road, On the Water” campaign. The campaign will be conducted throughout the weekend with an intense focus on removing impaired motorists who are operating boats and motor vehicles.

Additionally, SHP is partnering with the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s Click It or Ticket campaign. This campaign will involve two seven-day enforcement periods, beginning May 24-30 and May 31-June 6, with emphasis being placed on seat belt violations.

Stay Safe

Motorists are encouraged to follow these suggestions while traveling:

• Expect Delays: Research routes in advance to include secondary routes, detours and possible road closures. Up-to-date information regarding delays and closures can be found at www.DriveNC.gov

• Monitor Speed: Obey the posted speed limit and be mindful of speed limit reductions within work zones.

• Wear Seat Belts: Seat belts must be worn in both front and back seats if available.

• Avoid Road Rage: Use patience when driving and avoid other motorists who may contribute to road rage situations. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicles in front of you.

• Don’t Drive Distracted: Avoid any distractions while driving that reduces your ability to drive safely

• Collision Reporting: Motorists involved in a property damage collision are asked to move their vehicles to the shoulder or emergency strip. Motorists involved in injury-related collisions should immediately contact 911 or *HP (*47) for emergency assistance.

• Reporting Dangerous Drivers or Other Emergencies: Motorists are encouraged to dial *HP or 911.

For non-emergency information, motorists are requested to contact the local SHP office and avoid using *HP or 911. A list of local district offices can be obtained by visiting www.NCDPS.gov.