BY HARVEY KOONER
ICBC Road Safety Coordinator
THE holiday season is about to hit full swing! People are busy planning get-togethers or meeting friends to watch a game and some of these activities may involve a few drinks. If your festivities include alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home before you head out.
While attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed considerably since the launch of CounterAttack more than 35 years ago, there are still people who take chances or make excuses for drinking and driving. Impaired driving remains a leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.
On average, every December four people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving. These are preventable tragedies and that’s why police across the province will be out in full force targeting impaired drivers at CounterAttack roadchecks.
We all know that alcohol can affect your judgment, reaction time, coordination and visual functions. Behind the wheel that means it affects your ability to steer, control your speed and lane position, track moving objects and brake appropriately. And the truth is no amount of coffee, food or fresh air can sober you up.
* Plan a safe ride home before you head out. Arrange for a designated driver or use other options to get home safely — call a taxi or Operation Red Nose, take transit or call a sober friend.
* Ask yourself if it’s your turn to be the designated driver. Share the responsibility to help your friends and family get home safely.
* If you’re hosting a party, show your appreciation to designated drivers by serving a variety of non-alcoholic drinks. As a responsible host, make sure your guests have alternatives to get home safely or if necessary, let your guests stay overnight.
* Another option is Operation Red Nose. Friday and Saturday nights from November 28 to December 27 and on New Year’s Eve, if you’ve been drinking or are too tired to drive home, call 1-877-604-NOSE and a team of volunteers will help make sure you, your passengers and vehicle get home safely.
Operation Red Nose is available in these B.C. communities: Abbotsford / Mission, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Delta / Richmond, Langley / Surrey, Tri-Cities, New Westminster, North and West Vancouver, Nanaimo, Prince George and Williams Lake.
Talk about the issue with friends and family and have a safe and happy holiday!