EVERY year over the Labour Day long weekend, an average of four people are killed and 560 injured in 1,900 crashes across the province. Driver distractions, speed and impaired driving are the top contributing factors in Labour Day long weekend casualty crashes, says ICBC.
As many plan one last summer road trip this long weekend, ICBC is urging drivers to be well prepared and leave plenty of time to get to your destination to avoid rushing and the temptation to drive aggressively.
In a recent ICBC survey, 25 per cent of respondents’ main safety concern on a road trip was other drivers being aggressive, followed by traffic (18 per cent), road conditions (14 per cent), getting into a crash (10 per cent) and speeding drivers (8 per cent).
* Pre-trip check: Make sure any camping or outdoor equipment is securely tied down to your vehicle before you take off. Check your engine oil, coolant levels and lights, and inspect your vehicle tires, including the spare, to make sure they’re in good condition and properly inflated.
* Pack an emergency kit: 70 per cent of those surveyed keep an emergency kit in their vehicle. Follow their lead and pack yours with essentials such as food and water, a flashlight, first aid kit, booster cable and emergency signal cone.
* Assign a designated texter: If you need to keep in touch with family or friends during the drive, ask your passengers to make or receive calls and texts for you. If you have to take a call, pull over when it’s safe to do so or use your phone in hands-free mode. If you know someone is behind the wheel, avoid texting, calling or answering to help keep them safe.
* RVs: You’ll likely spot many recreational vehicles on the highways this weekend. If you’re driving in mountainous areas, you may find that many RV’s are driving below the speed limit because they may be underpowered and overloaded. Be patient with these drivers as they are likely going uphill as fast as they can. If you’re driving your RV this weekend, be courteous and pull over to let others by if you’re holding up traffic. This is much safer than a driver making an unsafe pass out of frustration.
* Stay alert: 61 per cent of survey respondents said they feel tired at least sometimes when driving long distances. Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and take rest breaks every 1.5 to 2 hours to avoid driver fatigue. Fatigue slows your reaction time and even a slight decrease in reaction time can greatly increase your risk of crashing especially when travelling at highway speeds.
* Keep your distance: Allow at least two seconds of following distance in good conditions, and at least three seconds on high-speed roads or if you’re behind a motorcycle since it has a much shorter stopping distance.
“With more traffic expected over the holiday weekend, expect delays and give yourself extra time to get to your destination safely,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Check road and weather conditions at drivebc.ca before you set off so you know you’re fully prepared for the journey.”
“With the long weekend approaching, we want to remind British Columbians to drive safely and take care behind the wheel,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “Whatever your plans are, be a role model and make smart driving decisions over the long weekend – buckle up, drive safe and sober, and leave the phone alone.”
“Take your time and focus on the road this long weekend,” said Chief Officer Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “Police will be out in full force across the province to make sure drivers aren’t distracted, follow speed limits and keep their full attention on the road.”
“We want everyone heading out of town for the last long weekend of summer to make it home safely,” said John Dickinson, ICBC’s director of road safety. “Plan your route before you begin driving so you stay focused on the road. There will be many RVs and motorcyclists on our roads this weekend so keep your full attention on driving and help keep everyone safe.”