Watch out for the other guy this Easter long weekend
Easter long weekend is a time when many families in BC take to the highways to visit friends and relatives.
Which is why ICBC is asking drivers to be prepared, stay focused and avoid distractions.
Every Easter long weekend, an average of three people are killed and 670 injured in 2,300 crashes in B.C. — 66 people in 300 crashes happen every year in the Southern Interior.
“Whether you’re driving across town or across the province, please do your part to drive safely on our roads this Easter long weekend,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“Distracted driving is responsible for about one-quarter of all car crash fatalities in B.C., so it’s time for all of us to leave our phones alone and avoid all distractions when we’re behind the wheel.”
Police across the province will be cracking down on distracted driving this long weekend as part of a month-long campaign.
“Road safety is a priority for our government and we intend to have the safest roads in North America by 2020,” said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“In 2014, there were 66 deaths and 630 serious injuries with distracted driving as a contributing factor. Drivers understand that distracted behaviour is dangerous, yet many British Columbians still make calls or text while driving. Through continuing police enforcement efforts and ticketing those who break the law, we can change people’s behaviour.”
“Every day police across the province encounter drivers using hand-held devices behind the wheel and based on their excuses, they just don’t get it,” said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee.
“Most drivers acknowledge that distracted driving is dangerous but they’re also quick to justify their own behaviours. We need drivers to realize there are no excuses for putting others at risk. Slow down; pay attention and focus on driving – you will help prevent a tragedy.”
Even though the calendar says spring, weather conditions can change suddenly in parts of B.C. at this time of the year.
“Make sure you and your vehicle are ready for all possible weather conditions during your Easter road trip,” said Lindsay Matthews, director responsible for road safety at ICBC.
“Be well rested, alert and focused on the road. We want everyone to travel to and from their Easter gatherings safely.”
Do a vehicle check: Long road trips can be hard on your vehicle, especially if this is the first extended trip of the year. Make sure your vehicle is up to the drive. Check your engine oil, washer fluid, lights and inspect your vehicle tires, including the spare, to make sure they are in good condition and properly inflated.
Watch for weather changes: On mountain and interior routes, drivers may encounter winter-like conditions. Remember, winter tires and chains may still be required on some highways until March 31.
Share the road: Milder weather will encourage more motorcyclists and cyclists to be on the road. Drivers should slow down, use extra caution and watch for other road users.
Avoid distractions: Make important calls and send texts on your cell phone before you start your trip. Use rest stops to take a break, get some fresh air and check your phone.
Easter long weekend is calculated from 6 p.m. the Thursday before Good Friday to midnight Easter Monday. ICBC crash and injury data used (2009 to 2013) and police fatality data used (2010 to 2014).