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Agencies warn drivers to stay alert on the roads this long weekend

By Contributor
July 29th, 2016

As the B.C. Day long weekend nears, ICBC, the B.C. government and police are asking all drivers who will be setting off on a road trip to look out for the key warnings signs of fatigue – you don’t recall driving the last few kilometres, you don’t notice a vehicle until it suddenly passes you or your driving speed is creeping up or down.

Every year, 16 people are killed in crashes involving driver fatigue in B.C. In the Southern Interior, 84 people are injured in 400 crashes.

“Being well-rested and staying alert at the wheel is the best way to reach your destination safely,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Consider sharing the driving with a passenger if possible to reduce your risk of getting fatigued. Visit ahead of your trip to check road conditions and plan your rest breaks.”

Warm summer weather and long drives can be a dangerous combination that can cause fatigue. Fatigue slows a driver’s reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment.

Even a slight decrease in reaction time can greatly increase your risk of crashing especially when travelling at highway speeds.

Top Tips to reduce risk of driver fatigue:

  • Plan your journey: Get a good sleep the night before you leave on a long trip and know the route you’re going to take so you can plan to stop at rest points along the way. Take a break every two hours on long road trips and avoid driving during the night when you’d normally be asleep. Long weekends always mean more vehicles on the road so plan ahead by checking road and weather conditions on
  • Take a break: Pull over as soon as you start to feel drowsy. Get out and walk around to get some fresh air. If that’s not enough, pull over to a safe area, turn off your car and take a nap. Turning up the radio or air conditioning won’t help. The only cure for drowsiness is sleep; it’s better to arrive late than not at all.
  • Know the signs: We don’t often sense the degree of our own fatigue when we’re driving so it’s important to know the warning signs:
  • You don’t notice a vehicle until it suddenly passes you.
  • You don’t recall driving the last few kilometres.
  • You’re yawning or daydreaming.
  • You find yourself wandering into the next lane.
  • Your driving speed creeps up or down.
  • Your eyes feel heavy or you have difficulty keeping your head up.

*Driver fatigue is underreported as it’s difficult to measure. Based on police data (2010 to 2014).

**Injured victims and crashes from 2015 ICBC data and fatal victims from police data five-year average (2010 to 2014).

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