Drive Safe during Canada Day Weekend
June 27, 2019
By Blair Qualey
Ahh, the Canada Day weekend – that time of year when families from coast to coast celebrate everything that makes this country the best place on earth.
For many British Columbians, the holiday weekend will involve driving to visit family, enjoying fireworks or embarking on the first road trip of the summer. But in all the excitement of the holiday weekend, and the various sights and sounds that can serve as distractions, be extra cautious when traveling on our roadways. Plan ahead to ensure your journey is a positive one.
The following may appear obvious, but serve as important reminders:
• Make sure your vehicle is in top shape. Have it inspected by your local service shop if it hasn’t been for a while. Replace fluids, if needed. Inspect tires and don’t forget to inspect your spare tire.
• Pack lots of snacks and drinks/water.
• Plan your route in advance to avoid unnecessary kilometres and frustration.
• Reduce or eliminate distractions like cell phones.
• Take a deep breath and enjoy the scenery!
Road trips during peak periods during the summer months can also present some very special challenges, that drivers should be cognizant of. As an example, tourists who are unfamiliar with the routes they are travelling, can sometimes stop unexpectedly or change their route abruptly because they suddenly realize there are traveling in the wrong direction.
Warm weather also brings on a greater number of road construction projects across the province, each of which involve inherent safety risks – for drivers, cyclists and road construction crew members. As much as road construction delays may be frustrating, give yourself extra time to get to your destination, research alternative routes or plan your schedule around periods when traffic may not be at its maximum. Furthermore, pay close attention to the speed limits in construction zones and use common sense and consideration in a construction area where flag-persons and other crew members are simply trying to do their jobs.
If traveling in rural or remote areas of the province, be aware that wildlife is typically more abundant in the summer as their young become more mobile and therefore, more likely to join their parents when crossing the road to find new habitat or food.
Cyclists can be an unpredictable element that drivers will encounter more often during the summer. While the expectation may be that cyclists will use hand signals or follow the general rules of the road, that isn’t always the case, so give them plenty of space and observe them with caution. Likewise, when sharing the road with motorcyclists, know that they don’t have the same ability to as brake quickly as you can in a vehicle, so give them lots of space. And the same goes for motorcyclists – respectful amount of space and everyone wins by being safe!
There are some useful websites such as DriveBC.ca that can be of great assistance in route planning. If driving plans include mountain passes, please prepare for all forms of conditions, given the snowfall at higher elevations only days ago. That aside, summer is the time to create great memories for you and your loved-ones – so make it a holiday long weekend worth remembering for all the right reasons.
And one final but important reminder – please be aware of the existing forest fire danger and do not toss your cigarette butts – dispose of them appropriately.
Have a Happy and Safe Canada Day!
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Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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