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Don't ruin your vacation with a traffic ticket

With summer vacation season here, 61 percent of Americans intend to take a trip, according to a recent study. And while South Carolinians and others likely have budgeted for everything from hotels to gas to amusement parks, one thing could break the bank: a speeding ticket or other traffic citation.

More than 70 percent of those who said they would take a summer vacation said they would do so by car, and most budgeted less than $1,200, according to the study. Traffic tickets, especially those obtained out of state, could prove costly.

One company that specializes in legal services has advice for motorists before they hit the road. Following the advice could save hard-earned money that could be spent on vacation fun. The tips:

  1. Be aware of the laws of the state you will drive through. State laws differ from one state to the next on everything from local speed laws to cellphone use and even sending text messages. One national website worth checking before you leave provides the regulations for each state about what is known as distracted driving, such as cellphone use.
  2. Check that all car-related documents are valid. Be sure to have your insurance and registration, as well as your license plates and state inspections, up-to-date. Make sure your driver's license has not expired. The last thing you want to do is have an accident or be stopped for a traffic violation, only to find out you are driving with an expired license or invalid insurance.
  3. No matter how frustrated or angry you might be, treat the officer who stops you with respect. If you have a good driving record and treat the officer with courtesy, you might just get a warning. A bad attitude could result in further charges. The officer also might cite your attitude on the ticket.

Summertime trips are the canvas for a wonderful vacation memory. Don't tarnish the moment with an unexpected legal detour by taking a chance of receiving a traffic citation while driving through your vacation destination.

Source: MainStreet, "How to Avoid Costly Summer Road Trip Traffic Tickets," Brian O'Connell, June 26, 2012

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