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Exercise caution during holiday

If you are among the lucky ones who are beginning a three-day weekend today, we hope you have a safe and happy time with family and friends.

And when you are getting ready to take off on your holiday adventures, be sure to pack plenty of caution and common sense.

We expect area highways to be busy throughout the weekend — this holiday is the traditional start to the summer travel season — so if you will be driving to your destination, do so defensively.

AAA is predicting that approximately 31.2 million Americans will drive 50 miles or more during the long weekend, which is a small increase from last year.

Law enforcement agencies across Denton County are planning to keep a close watch on the roads and lakes this Memorial Day weekend.

Officials said they want drivers and boaters to have a fun holiday weekend, but also to keep themselves and others safe.

“It gets very dangerous during the holidays, and a mass presence of law enforcement on the streets and waterways is needed to ensure the safety of everyone,” said Johnny Peters, lake patrol deputy with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office.

If you’re heading out to an area lake, boat in tow, you can expect to find stepped-up enforcement patrols, officials said. In fact, this weekend marks the first of several heavy enforcement patrol periods planned on county lakes this summer.

Boaters should also remember that special precautions are now required to help prevent the spread of zebra mussels in area lakes. As we’ve advised you before, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are asking boaters to clean and drain their boats each time they use them as a precaution.

Boat owners who carelessly spread zebra mussels from one lake to another could face legal penalties. But more important, preventing the spread of zebra mussels will help protect intake systems at lakes, reducing problems for communities and industries that rely on reservoirs for their water and saving a lot of taxpayer dollars.

Boaters can visit to see a video on how to properly inspect and clean a boat and to learn more about how they can help protect the waters.

Motorists can also expect a little extra scrutiny this weekend. Denton and Corinth police departments, for example, are taking part in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign that began earlier this week.

So, be careful as you go about your holiday travels. We’d like to have you back in place on Tuesday when the weekend fun is over.

And speaking of fun — don’t have too much of it. Remember to drink responsibly and if you drink, don’t drive or operate a boat.

“We just always want people to hand keys to friends or call a taxi if they plan to drink,” said Officer Ryan Grelle, a spokesman for Denton police.

That’s good advice, and taking it to heart will help ensure that everyone has a safer and happier holiday weekend.