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ICBC’s tips for the last long weekend of summer

Driver inattentiveness the top factor in crashes

September 1, 2010

For many, Labour Day long weekend means one last summer get-away and preparing for kids to head back to school. Whatever your plans are, help keep our roads safe – be a role model and make smart driving decisions over the long weekend.

On average, there are approximately 1,725 crashes, 515 injuries and five fatalities in B.C. over the Labour Day long weekend.* Police reported that the top contributing factors in Labour Day long weekend crashes are driver inattentiveness, driver error and confusion, alcohol and speed. This means that we can all play a role in preventing these injuries and deaths by making smart driving decisions.

Here are ICBC tips for smart driving over the Labour Day long weekend:

No. 1 – Plan ahead: Beginning September 20 th, police in B.C. will be armed with Canada’s toughest laws and penalties to get impaired drivers off B.C.’s roads faster and for longer. If your activities will include alcohol, take all the necessary steps to make sure you get home safe – don’t drink and drive. Make plans to have a designated driver, take a taxi, public transit or call a friend or family member for a ride home. Remember – a true designated driver is a person who decides not to drink. Period.

No. 2 – Get focused: Driving is a complex task that demands your full attention. When you’re behind the wheel, anything that competes with your attention impairs your driving ability and increases your chance of being in a crash. A distracted driver is a dangerous driver. If your cellphone rings while driving, let voice mail do its job and call back later. If you need to take the call, use a hands-free device and keep the conversation brief. Find more tips at drivecellsafe.caexternal link.

No. 3 – Be realistic: Get plenty of rest and plan your trip realistically – build in time for rest breaks and delays. Before you leave, go to drivebc.comexternal link to check road and weather conditions. There will be more vehicles on the road over the long weekend, so allow extra time for possible setbacks. While weather conditions are favourable in B.C. right now, they can change quickly at this time of year so be prepared, especially when travelling over long distances.

No. 4 – Slow down and keep your distance: Always stay within the posted speed limit and maintain a safe travelling distance – at least three seconds on high-speed roads or if you’re behind a motorcycle. You may think that by speeding, you’re cutting down on your travel time but what you’re really doing is decreasing your reaction time and putting yourself and others at risk. Remember the safety of our emergency workers – drivers are required by law to slow down and move over when passing parked emergency vehicles that have their lights flashing.

No. 5 – School’s back: Don’t forget – on Tuesday after the weekend is over, kids go back to school and that means drivers need to pay extra care and attention around school and playground zones. Police will be closely monitoring speeds in school zones, ensuring that drivers stick to the 30km/h limit. Some key points for drivers to keep in mind are that as people are returning to work or school from summer holidays, more vehicles will be on the road and that means more congestion. Allow extra time and don’t rush – especially through intersections. Remember to look for children and pay close attention near or around crosswalks.

For more information and tips, visit icbc.com.

*Annual crash and injury averages based on 2005-2009 ICBC data. Annual fatal averages are based on 2004-2008 police-reported data.

Media Contact:
Adam Grossman