Five Utahns may die in traffic accidents this Memorial Day weekend, May 24 through 27, according to Utah Safety Council estimates. In 1990, six people were killed during this holiday period, said Robert F. Parenti, director of the council.

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the "101 critical days of summer." According to the council more motor-vehicle accidents happen during this weekend than at any other time. Excessive speed is the No. 1 factor associated with traffic deaths, said Parenti.Parenti offers motorists the following safe-driving tips:

- Allow plenty of travel time and do not speed, even if you are behind schedule. It's better to "arrive alive" and late than not at all.

- Do not drink and drive. If you plan on drinking alcoholic beverages, designate a driver who refrains from drinking and assumes the responsibility for driving the others home safely.

- Wear your safety belt, even for short trips, and fasten children into approved child safety seats. A crash at only 30 mph will hurl an unbelted passenger forward with a force equal to that of falling out of a third-story window.

- Have your vehicle inspected and tuned before any long trips. Have the mechanic pay special attention to the brakes, tires and cooling system.

- Use the "two-second" rule to judge safe following distances.

- Slow down in bad weather, turn on your headlights and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.

- On long trips stop every 90 minutes for rest, eat light meals, exercise and rotate drivers. If you're traveling alone and feel sleepy, stop and get rest.

For more information contact the Utah Safety Council at 801-533-5851. Outside the Salt Lake area call 800-933-5943. The Utah Safety Council is a private, non-profit, public service organization dedicated to reducing the number of accidents and resulting injuries.