Safe travels for the holiday weekend

If you've got big plans for the Labor Day weekend you're certainly not alone.

It's the last long holiday weekend of the summer, and that means the roads, rails, waterways and skies will be full of travelers hoping to send summer out on a good note.

Illinois State Trooper Mike Kindhart and Missouri Highway Patrolman Sgt. Brent Bernhardt offer this advice to keep you safe whether you're the one driving or if you're just riding along.

The car's packed.

The kids are ready

Your trip is planned

And you're ready to go, or are you?
More importantly, is your car? This weekend's heat can take its toll on your ride.

"It's always good to have a mechanic check your vehicle over to enusre your tires and belts and things of that nature are in good working order," Sgt. Brent Bernhardt with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.

The last thing you want to have happen is to have your car break down with you and your family stranded in 100-degree heat, he said.

If that happens though, remember these numbers: *55 in Missouri only will connect you with a state police trooper. In Illinois and Iowa, it's best to call 911. Just remember to have as much detail about where you are so you can be found quickly.

"For people who are traveling out of their comfort zone, so to speak, to someplace that is unfamiliar, it never hurts to look at the last overpass you went under and see what exit that was." Trooper Mike Kindhart with the Illinois State Police said. "That gives you some justification that you are at least within a couple of miles of that location."

It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the laws of the states in which you'll be driving. And keep an eye on speed limit signs as you cross state boundaries because they do vary.

Click here for list of traffic laws by state.

A big thing these days is distracted driving, and there's so much more to that than texting and driving.

"Having an intense conversation with a passenger, bending down to pick something up off the floor, changing the radio station dial," Bernhardt said.

Kids can also be a big distraction. That's why you should rely a lot on your passenger. If you're the passenger, think of yourself as a co-pilot.

"That driver, help them stay awake. Help them be attentive in that vehicle so they don't feel like they are there by themselves as a driver," Trooper Kindhart said.