ICBC and police ask drivers to slow down

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ICBC and police ask drivers to slow down this Victoria Day long weekend

Campaign targets high-risk driving behaviours

May 16, 2013

high-risk driving campaign

Whether you're heading out for a weekend getaway or staying local this Victoria Day long weekend, ICBC and police are asking you to plan ahead for increased traffic volumes so you're not tempted to rush to your destination.

Tailgating, failing to yield or speeding may seem harmless, but high-risk driving behaviours contribute to almost half of all police-reported casualty crashes in B.C.* And every year over the Victoria Day long weekend, on average, three people are killed and 500 are injured in 1,700 crashes in B.C.**

This long weekend and during the rest of the month, police will step up enforcement across the province targeting high-risk driving behaviours including speeding, failing to yield, tailgating, ignoring a traffic sign and improper passing.

"High-risk behaviours have no place on our roads," said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Chair of the B.C. Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. "We will be out in full-force across the province to let drivers know we are serious about reducing these senseless crashes. As police officers, we see the heartbreaking results of bad driving behaviours, and we know how easily they can be prevented."

The high-risk driving campaign aims to remind drivers to slow down and take extra care at intersections so they can be more prepared to react to the unexpected. The month long campaign includes enhanced police enforcement, volunteer Speed Watch deployments in high crash locations and awareness initiatives in communities across the province.

"Driving is a complex task that requires your full attention," said John Dickinson, ICBC's director of road safety. "We want to help drivers avoid high-risk driving behaviours so that our roads are safer for everyone. Fewer crashes and injuries will also lower claims costs and help keep rates as low as possible."

Here are tips from ICBC to help you avoid high-risk driving behaviours:

  • Failing to yield: It may not always be easy to decide who has the right-of-way at intersections. Signs and traffic signals often help determine who needs to yield to whom. If in doubt, always be ready to give the right-of-way.
  • Ignoring traffic control devices: If you're approaching a light that's been green for a while, slow down and prepare to stop if the light changes. Remember that yellow lights mean you must stop unless it is unsafe to do so.
  • Following too closely: Leaving a safe following distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front gives you time to react to the unexpected. You need a following distance of at least two seconds in good weather and road conditions. Allow at least three seconds when you're behind a large vehicle that could block your vision, or a motorcycle that could stop very quickly.
  • Speeding: Speed is one of the most frequently cited contributing factors in police-reported car crashes. You need time to see and react before your brakes take effect and slow you down. Slowing down and being more realistic about travel times can reduce your risk of getting in a crash. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination so you don't feel the need to rush.
  • Improper passing: If you're planning to pass, make sure you do it safely and legally. Keep within the speed limit and communicate clearly by using your signals. Big trucks can't slow down as quickly as you can so leave extra room before pulling back in. Avoid passing on the right, and ensure you can see the vehicle you've passed in your mirrors before pulling back in front of it.

Regional statistics:

  • On average, 340 people are injured in 1,100 crashes throughout the Lower Mainland every year over the Victoria Day long weekend.**
  • On average, 70 people are injured in 240 crashes on Vancouver Island every year over the Victoria Day long weekend.**
  • On average, 70 people are injured in 280 crashes throughout the Southern Interior every year over the Victoria Day long weekend.**
  • On average, 20 people are injured in 100 crashes throughout the North Central region every year over the Victoria Day long weekend.**

Notes:

*Almost half (44%) of all police-reported casualty crashes in B.C. have high-risk driving as a contributing factor.

**Victoria Day long weekend is calculated from 18:00 the Thursday prior to Victoria Day to midnight Monday using ICBC data (2008 to 2012).

Media contacts:

Michelle Hargrave
250-979-4642

Kathy Taylor
604-982-2480