When holiday spirits soar, need for safety remains

Forgive us if we're interrupting your regularly scheduled trip to the closest fireworks display, but allow us a moment to preach.

With gas prices in what most of us consider a "reasonable" range and the summer weather making more frequent appearances than it did at some points last month, roads and highways are beginning to fill up with travelers talking advantage of the softer season.

That's good. We like seeing people getting out to enjoy themselves along with their families and friends.

What we don't like is when people get so caught up in the moment that they lose focus on the road ahead of them and create safety hazards for themselves and others sharing the road with them.

So while you're checking off the list of things you need to do as you prepare to travel this holiday weekend and the rest of the summer, please include staying attentive on the roadways and focused on traffic safety.

It should go without saying that you should always abide by traffic laws. But we're going to say it anyway. Take your time. Don't exceed speed limits. Aggressive driving is dangerous driving. Be kind and courteous on the highway. Yes, other drivers can be maddening. But lay off the horn and keep your hand gestures to yourself.

It's also crucial to focus on the task at hand. Don't allow yourself to be distracted. Don't mess around with your cell phone. Texting is among the worst forms of distracted driving.

If drinking alcoholic beverages is part of your festivities, don't drive afterward. There is absolutely no excuse for such irresponsible behavior. It puts you and others in danger. And it's against the law.

So much for the sermon.

The Fourth of July holiday period is a wonderful time of year. Keep it that way. Have fun. Drive responsibly. Be safe.