For many British Columbians, the Labour Day long weekend marks the last chance for a summer road trip. But it can also be a busy time on B.C. roads.
Over the Labour Day long weekend, five people are killed and 520 people are injured in 2,000 crashes across the province.*
That’s why it’s important for drivers to plan ahead and make smart decisions such as checking the condition of your vehicle, allowing plenty of time to reach your destination and programming your GPS-device before heading out on the road.
Here are ICBC’s tips for a safe long weekend road trip:
Pre-trip check: Check your engine oil, coolant levels and lights, and inspect your vehicle tires, including the spare, to make sure they’re in good condition and properly inflated. Make sure any camping or outdoor equipment is securely tied down to your vehicle before you take off.
Plan your route: Check drivebc.ca to view weather and road conditions for major routes throughout B.C.
Eliminate distractions: Turn off your cellphone before you head out or put it in the trunk so you won’t be tempted to answer if it rings. Help keep your family and friends safe by not texting, calling or answering if you know someone is behind the wheel.
Keep your distance: Allow at least two seconds of following distance between vehicles in good road conditions, and at least three seconds on high-speed roads. Increase your distance when you’re following a large vehicle such as an RV (it can block your vision) or a motorcycle (it can stop quicker than a car).
Watch for RVs: You’ll likely spot many recreational vehicles on the highways this weekend. If you’re driving in mountainous areas, you may find that many RVs are driving below the speed limit because they may be underpowered and overloaded. Be patient with these drivers as they are likely going uphill as fast as they can. If you’re driving your RV, be courteous and pull over to let others by if you’re holding up traffic. This is much safer than a driver making an unsafe pass out of frustration.
Keep in mind that kids head back to school on Tuesday. So drivers need to pay extra attention around crosswalks and school and playground zones. Police will be closely monitoring speeds in school zones, ensuring that drivers stick to the 30 km/h limit. You should also allow extra time for increased traffic as people return to work or school from summer holidays.
Last year, 390 people were injured in 1,300 crashes in the Lower Mainland over the Labour Day long weekend.
Last year, 51 people were injured in 270 crashes on Vancouver Island over the Labour Day long weekend.
Last year, 63 people were injured in 310 crashes in the Southern Interior over the Labour Day long weekend.
Last year, 16 people were injured in 120 crashes in North Central B.C. over the Labour Day long weekend.
Labour Day crashes are calculated from 18:00 the Friday prior to the holiday to midnight Monday.
*Fatality data is police data based on five year average (2010 to 2014). Crash and injury data is ICBC data from 2015.