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Editorial: Time to put a brake on traffic deaths

Three crashes on Wisconsin roads killed five people over the 2018 Memorial Day weekend.

Not to be outdone, Minnesota had six deaths in six separate crashes.

This coming weekend is the start of the potential seven-day holiday stretch one-third of the way through the "100 deadliest" travel days of the year, that time period from Memorial Day to Labor Day when students are out of school and families hit the road. We remind motorists to be especially alert now because Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday, and it will be difficult to predict when traffic might be the heaviest: Some people may take the entire week off while others may take one half the week. Regardless, the roads will be busy.

Both states are on a disappointing safety trajectory.

In Minnesota, preliminary numbers from the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety show that 118 people lost their lives in traffic crashes on Minnesota roads as of June 1, 2018. That's compared with 115 that time last year.

In Wisconsin, fatalities as of June 17 totaled 235 and, while that's down from 2017's 249, it is above the five-year average of 220 for this time.

Here are a few quips to keep in mind as you drive:

• "Click it or ticket it." Wear your seat belt and make certain others buckle up, too, or expect to be issued a ticket.

• "One text or call could wreck it all." Stay off your cellphone.

• "Orange cones, no phones." And especially don't use a cellphone while going through a construction zone.

• "Drive sober or get pulled over." Be or get a designated driver. Please.

• "Wise up, slow down." Speeding increases your chances of causing an accident.

• "Watch out for the other idiots, dear." Drive defensively.

Hey, you want that chance to travel over Labor Day weekend, right?

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