Province reminds motorists to drive safe over long weekend

The B.C. government asks drivers to be cautious this weekend, as accidents tend to increase on Canada Day.

  • Jun. 30, 2012 6:00 p.m.

The B.C. government is reminding drivers to keep their families safe by following common-sense road safety tips during Canada Day long weekend.

According to provincial statistics for the last five years, on Canada Day alone, an average of two people die and 156 are injured in about 613 crashes on B.C.’s roads. Between 2007 and 2011, the average number of crashes and injuries by region were:

* Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley: 382 crashes, 102 injuries.

* North Central: 41 crashes, eight injuries.

* Southern Interior: 99 crashes, 22 injuries.

* Vancouver Island: 92 crashes, 23 injuries.

Alcohol, speed and driver distraction are the top three contributing factors in motor vehicle deaths. Drivers in B.C. who engage in these dangerous behaviours can expect to face some of the most severe penalties and fines in Canada.

Here are some safety tips to help drivers arrive at their destination safely:

* Plan a safe way home, such as a designated driver or taxi, if your weekend activities will involve alcohol. Remember that impairment begins with the first drink, and that drugs – including prescription drugs – can affect your ability to drive safely.

* Buckle up. Seatbelt use is the single, most-effective step you can take to protect yourself from death or serious injury in a collision. The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $167, and drivers can be fined $598 for operating their vehicle with more passengers than seatbelts.

* Slow down and stay calm. Speed and aggressive driving are among the main causes of fatal crashes.

* Plan ahead, keeping in mind that congestion, construction and road conditions may add to your travel time. View current webcam images on DriveBC at:

* Eliminate distractions. Place calls before you leave and pull over to check maps. Drivers using a hand-held phone device are subject to a fine of $167 and drivers caught texting or emailing will receive three penalty points in addition to the fine.

* Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one ahead of you – at least three seconds on high-speed roads or if you’re behind a motorcycle.

* Watch for motorcycles. Drivers need to recognize there are more riders on B.C. roads every year, particularly in spring and summer.

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