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Protect Yourself From Drivers and Other Dangers This Holiday Weekend

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FAYETTEVILLE — The pops and bangs of fireworks can be exhilarating or frightening. Before the Fourth of July blows up in your face, learn how to handle the explosives safely.

WRAL purchased $47 worth of fireworks at a local roadside tent. Then, Cumberland County Fire Marshal Jerry Cashwell showed ushow to use them.

"We always recommend checking the fuse," Cashwell says. "If the fuse is loose, not intact, or questionable, then the firework itself could be dangerous. Don't use it. Always make sure the firework is a class C or has a safe and sane label on it. If it appears to have been wet or damaged in any manner don't use it."

If you light a fuse and it goes out, don't re-ignite it, Cashwell says. Throw it out.

The legal fireworks are a lot less exciting thanthe illegal ones, and Cashwell says the disappointment often gets both kids and adults hurt.

"I think when people find out the only thing they're going to do is sit still and emit sparks, a lot of times they'll try and hold them or throw them," he explains. "Get creative with them and that's when accidents happen."

They are also very hot. Most legal fireworks burn at between 1000 and 1800 degrees. That can easily burn a child or start a fire.

And remember, never let children set off fireworks without adult supervision.

Police are also urging drivers to be careful this Fourth of July weekend.

An estimated 38 million people will behitting the road, including some of the state'smost dangerous roads.

I-440 around Raleigh ranks ninth most dangerous, while I-95 in Robeson county is fourth.

An estimated 65,000 cars will pass through I-95 in Robeson County this holiday weekend. Six troopers will patrol I-95 non-stop as part of Operation CARE.

"It's not our objective to write tickets," says State Highway Patrol Sgt. Randy Hammonds. "Our objective is to keep people safe."

Signs warn drivers to be careful. They also remind drivers that the speed limit has been lowered to 55.

Some say that is not enough. "I'd agree it's dangerous because of construction," says driver H.J. Phillips. "And no one does the speed limit. It says 55 miles per hour, but if you do 55, you are going to get run over by the person behind you."

Last year, 22 people died on roads across the state during the Fourth of July weekend.

Troopers will remain on patrol around the clock until the holiday weekend officially ends at midnight Monday.

Here's another warning for travelers. Don't be shocked by gas prices. Gas costs about 3 and a half cents more per gallon than it did last year.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Doug Bricker, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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