Missourians prepare for the first big holiday weekend of the summer tourism season. The State Highway Patrol has a message for motorists: be careful out there.

Captain Tim Hull with the State Highway Patrol headquarters in Jefferson City has a few suggestions for motorists this three-day holiday weekend.

“Be ready to travel. Again, be patient because there is going to be a lot of traffic out there,” Hull says. “Drive the speed limit. Follow all the traffic laws and make sure they’re wearing their seat belt.”

Motorists can take a big leap toward safety with a simple step: taking time to prepare.

“There’s a lot of traffic on a holiday weekend. They could be stuck waiting in a construction zone for a while. They could have a break down they will have to deal with or somebody is traveling with them and they may have to assist them,” Hull says. “So, there’s all kinds of things that can happen and they need to make sure their vehicle is ready to travel and also that they are mentally ready to travel.”

State Highway Patrol troopers will be out in force this three-day weekend. The patrol will participate in the CARE program, which stands for Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Today and Monday, Highway Patrol Troops will participate in the 10-Mile Trooper Project, posting a trooper every ten miles on the state’s heaviest traveled roadways: Interstates 35, 44, 55 and 70 as well as Highways 60 and 61.

Hull says the two programs have proven effective over the years in reducing the number of traffic wrecks as well as deaths on the highways.

Motorists also need to be aware of construction zones throughout the state, posted on the MoDOT Web site as the Traveler Information Map.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60 MP3]