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ST. LOUIS – A horrifying and heartbreaking multi-car crash in Alabama underscores the need to be especially aware now that the summer travel season is upon us.

Some folks in law enforcement call summer “the hundred deadliest days” on the nation’s roads and highways.

In Alabama, police tape and the charred ground were evidence of the weekend’s crash that claimed the lives of nine children and one adult. Wet roads were being blamed.

Nexstar reporter Jeff Sanders said the National Transportation Safety Board is on the scene.

“The NTSB says it will be investigating vehicles technologies such as forward collision warnings…and occupant survivability,” Sanders said.

The wreck has St. Louis area folks on the watch for reckless drivers as they prepare to hit the road for summer fun.

“When I got my grandbabies in the car with me, it scares me to no end,” said grandparent David Roper.

Summer is already off to a bad start in Missouri. Traffic fatalities are already up 11%. Last year, highway deaths jumped by 12%, even with the pandemic. The three reasons for fatalities are speeding, driving under the influence, and distracted driving.

“With all the distractions we have in our vehicles and around our vehicles, really raises the amount of crashes we see,” Cpl. Dallas Thompson, Missouri State Highway Patrol, said.

“Plan your routes of travel. Look ahead for road construction, look at the weather reports and see if there’s a major storm coming up in the direction you’re traveling.”

Preston Jones was driving back to North Dakota after visiting St. Louis.

“I try to stay away from a lot of fast cars too,” he said.

Whether you’re traveling to the beaches, the mountains, or amusement parks, you’ll be driving on roads that are unfamiliar and bad weather can only make the situation worse.

“They come out of nowhere, especially at night when you can’t see the road. You’ve really got to slow down and pay attention,” motorist Stephanie Roper said.