Editorial -- On the roads: Stay safe this Memorial Day, and take a moment to remember

Despite high gas prices, this year’s Memorial Day weekend is expected to pull high numbers of drivers onto the roads.

May all travelers get away and home again safely this weekend and any time they hit the road.

What happened on I-5 north of Seattle Thursday is a testament to the unexpected: A freeway bridge collapsed, with three cars falling into the Skagit River below. Miraculously, no one died.

The overall state of our nation’s roads and bridges is an editorial for another day. Suffice it to say you never know what can happen when you are on the highway, so the best thing to do is make sure those factors you can control are under your control.

Local law enforcement’s “safety blitz,” through next week, points to some of those:

n Buckle yourself in, or feel the effects of “Click It Or Ticket”; police are on the lookout for those who delude themselves into thinking they don’t need to put on their safety belts.

“Law enforcement will not only be checking for persons wearing seat belts, but also that they are being worn properly. Please take the time to buckle up and keep your loved ones safe,” said Don Cheli of the Hood River Police Department.

n Buckle in your children.

Oregon law requires a child weighing less than 40 pounds to be properly restrained by a child safety seat. A child under one year of age or weighing less than 20 pounds must be restrained in a rear-facing child seat. A child over 40 pounds but under age 8 or less than 4 feet, 9 inches tall must be restrained in either a child seat with harness system or in a booster seat that raises the child up so that a lap and shoulder belt system fit correctly.

n Statewide, Oregon State Police will be paying added attention to the safety practices of pickup truck drivers.

Last year in Oregon, 61 vehicle occupants who died in crashes were completely unbelted. The majority of these — 49 — were occupants in pickup trucks, and two-thirds of these unbuckled fatalities occurred in nighttime crashes.

Whether driving a pickup, sedan, SUV or motorcycle, remember to reduce speed, make sure all equipment is in working order and avoid driving when tired or impaired in any way.

Keep Memorial Day a time to remember for all the right reasons.

One final tip: Take a break, stretch your legs and use the rest time to stop and reflect on the reason for this long holiday of Memorial Day: honoring those Americans who have fought and died for our country.

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