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Tips for safe driving during holidays

The N.C. Department of Transportation is taking steps to help motorists save both time and money this Thanksgiving by suspending most road construction activities on major routes across the state. By avoiding traffic delays, motorists can reach their destinations more quickly while also cutting down on fuel consumption and costs.
Most construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes will be suspended beginning at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22, until 9 a.m., Monday, Nov. 28, with two exceptions:
• U.S. 17 Business in Jacksonville (Onslow County) is reduced to two-lane, two-way traffic on the Buddy Phillips Bridge over the New River for construction of a new bridge; and
• U.S. 17 in Windsor (Bertie County) is reduced to one lane on the Cashie River Bridge due to construction. Traffic is controlled by signals; however, commercial trucks are restricted on this route and detour signs are in place. All motorists are encouraged to use the U.S. 17 Bypass around Windsor to avoid possible delays.
For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit the NCDOT website or follow NCDOT on Twitter.
Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. The site has a number of features to help travelers. For example, users can easily locate North Carolina Rest Areas where they can take a break from their drive by selecting which road they are traveling on from a list of 17 interstates and U.S. routes. They can then view the location of all rest areas on a road by mile marker. Clicking on a specific rest area pulls up more information about amenities at the location, as well as the option to view the facility on a map and get directions.
To access it, type “m.ncdot.gov” into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones. Here are some additional tips to stay safe on the highways:
• Buckle Up
• Don’t drink and drive
• Stay alert
• Obey the speed limit
• Minimize distractions
To help reduce fuel consumption:
• Don’t rush. “Jack-rabbit” starts and hard braking alone can increase fuel consumption by 40 percent, but reduce travel time by only 4 percent.
• Observe the speed limit. Not exceeding 60 miles per hour (where legally allowed) can improve mileage by 7 to 23 percent.
• Use cruise control. Using cruise control on 10,000 miles driven in a year could save you nearly $200 and save more than 60 gallons of fuel, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
• Remove unnecessary items. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can reduce your miles per gallon by up to two percent. Wind resistance can also reduce mileage so avoid using luggage racks, rooftop carriers and ski racks when they are not needed.
• Maintain your vehicle. Keeping your tires properly inflated, changing your oil and replacing air filters can all help improve fuel economy.

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