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The South Carolina Department of Public Safety and S.C. Highway Patrol are reminding motorists to keep their focus as the campaign for "100 Deadliest Days of Summer" begun over Memorial Day weekend.

South Carolina Highway Patrol's new campaign started this Memorial Day weekend as millions of Carolinians hit the roadways.

This weekend marked the start of "100 Deadliest Days of Summer," which is the period of time each year when traffic deaths tend to historically climb, according to Highway Patrol.

As of May 20, 367 people have died on South Carolina highways, compared to 400 highway deaths during the same time period in 2017, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

So far this year, the trend of fatalities in Aiken County has gone down with only seven deaths on Aiken County roads in 2018, compared with 13 at the same time period in 2017, according to Highway Patrol.

“We urge everyone to practice safe behaviors behind the wheel," said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson for AAA Carolinas. "Eliminate distractions, don’t drink and drive and don’t speed."

The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer is the time from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend when troopers see a rise in accidents because more people are traveling on the roads during the summer months.

Troopers had checkpoints on highways all over the state this Memorial Day weekend, looking for drinking and driving, distracted drivers, speeders and people not wearing seat belts, according to Lance Cpl. Judd Jones, with Highway Patrol.

"We are definitely concentrating on our seatbelt campaign over the 100 Deadliest Days," Jones said. 

The campaign is called #WhatMakesYouClick, which is raising awareness for buckling up when driving on the roadways and encouraging people to use their seat belts.

Jones said of the 264 drivers who died in South Carolina in 2018, 133 of those drivers were not wearing seat belts.

Residents saw some bad weather over the weekend and they can expect to see more rain going into Memorial Day. Jones advised people to take it slower than usual in bad weather and offer a few safety tips:

• take frequent breaks (every two hours) to stretch their legs and get some fresh air;

• keep a safe following distance (at least three seconds behind the car in front of them; to measure the three-second rule: start counting when a car passes a fixed object; it should be three seconds before you pass that fixed object, as well. It will take an attentive driver half that time to react to a hazard);

• report aggressive drivers or drivers exhibiting signs of impairment by calling *HP (*47);

• be aware of work zones, move over to give room to law enforcement/first responders assisting other motorists;

• refrain from travel right after a large meal when they might be more prone to suffering from fatigue behind the wheel;

Motorists can monitor real-time traffic from the Highway Patrol at scdps.gov/schp/webcad.asp. Highway Patrol Troop Seven monitors Aiken County roadways.

Tripp Girardeau is the crime and courts reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter at @trippgirardeau.