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Warm Weather and Cautionary Notes for Drivers

Warm Weather and Cautionary Notes for Drivers

June 12, 2020

Over the last several months, the attention for most British Columbians has been the COVID-19 pandemic – and rightfully so. However, as the BC Government and Public Health adjust health guidelines, the goal is that BC transitions to some level of ‘new normal’. This also brings with it a cautious note to British Columbians.

We are now approaching the time of year that many British Columbians begin to enjoy sunny, warm conditions, beach weather and exploration of the great outdoors. However, the onset of great weather also brings with it other areas that require our attention.

Each spring and summer, medical professionals and first responders reminder drivers about the dangers associated with leaving a small child or pet inside a parked vehicle. Yet, each year, media reports continue that illustrate the tragic outcomes that can often result of forgetting about the precious cargo in vehicles.

The first and only rule is simply to never leave your child or pet unattended in a vehicle during warm weather, period – even for a few minutes. The heat inside a vehicle can quickly rise to become dangerous or fatal, even when the windows are cracked open.

Unfortunately, there are instances when a child is left unattended for no other reason than their presence has slipped the mind of a parent who may be overwhelmed, distracted or exhausted. People often assume that because something is important, it will stay top of mind, but that isn’t always the case. Consider the number of times you might drive to a specific destination but don’t recall every aspect of the journey. It’s muscle memory that at least in part has guided your journey, and many of the functions were simply instinctive.

Police and safety advocates suggest parents develop routines that will help. This may include leaving a personal item you may require at your next stop – like a purse, brief case or cell phone next to the child as an additional reminder. Likewise, it may involve texting the other parent to confirm a drop-off.

Apps have also been developed to remind parents that a child may be in the back seat after a vehicle has come to a stop. Using Bluetooth technology, Precious Cargo, Kars4Kids and Google Maps are some examples of the many apps that connect to a vehicle’s radio and once the engine stops, the driver receives an alert.

Car seat manufacturers are also getting involved and in some cases, offering built-in alarm functions thanks to innovative chest clips that alert parents if the vehicle has turned off or if the driver’s cell phone has left the vehicle, but the child is still clipped in.

As a parent, establish a specific routine, do your research and examine the latest technology that may provide an added level of security because nothing is more important than the health and safety of your loved-ones.

Secondly, on another safety related topic, it’s no secret that forest fires have become an increasing cause for alarm in many areas of the province. Yet, each year many of these blazes are the result of carelessness in one form or another, including drivers who toss cigarette butts from their vehicle windows. Everyone needs to be conscious of the fire hazard and apply common sense. The FireSmartBC provides excellent resources on the precautions to take: https://firesmartbc.ca/

As we enter Phase 2 of the BC Restart Plan and restrictions start to let up, it is still important to observe the advice of Public Health. So, monitor developments and be cautious when planning  summer road trips. At the time of this writing, the government is still asking people to stay close to home. Enjoy a drive and the warmer weather – just remember to remain respectful.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca

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