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Posted at 09:57 AM ET, 06/24/2013

Tips to Stay Safe on Fourth of July Road Trips

OK, you've got your tire pressure and fluids checked, snacks and in-car diversions packed for the kids and your route programmed into the navigation system. You're ready for your Fourth of July holiday road trip, but beware — among the millions of other drivers out there who have the same idea, many may not be as prepared as you are.

AAA projects that nearly 41 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday period from July 3-7. Although that's a 0.8% decrease from the year before and 1.5 million fewer than the decade high in 2007 — primarily due to the one less day in the holiday period as July 4 falls on a Thursday — AAA advises drivers of the importance of keeping their mind on the task at hand.

"Mental distraction can lead to a type of tunnel vision or inattention blindness where motorists don't see potential hazards right in front of them," said AAA Chicago Regional President Brad Roeber in a statement. "It is not sufficient to have our hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, we also need our minds on driving."

According to AAA figures, 84% of travelers will opt for a road trip versus air travel or other means, and the average traveler is expected to go 613 miles round trip and spend $747. The greatest share of travelers (32%) will depart July 3 while the most popular date of return for travelers (38%) will be July 7.

With all of those people out on the nation's highways, accidents are inevitable, so law enforcers and insurance providers advise being prepared for what to do if it happens to you. Pennsylvania State Police advised the following steps to follow after an accident occurs to help you avoid feeling overwhelmed:

If possible, move your vehicle to a safe place off the roadway until police arrive.

Gather as much info as possible to provide an accurate location to the police dispatcher, such as the nearest highway mile marker or intersection.

Have your license, registration and insurance info ready to give to the responding officer.

Even if a crash appears to be minor, document what happened and contact your insurance company to start the claims process.

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By Cars.com  |  09:57 AM ET, 06/24/2013

 
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