Here’s a little sage May long weekend advice in your Saturday news.
Don’t drink and drive, don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere, put on your seatbelt when getting in your vehicle, and for goodness sake put your phone away when you’re behind the wheel.
If you’re reading this in your cabin down by the lake this weekend, then thankfully you have already survived the mad highway dash that signals the start of the May long weekend.
We only hope you take the same care coming home.
For those who still are fomenting travel plans for the next two days, we hope you will heed our advice.
For it’s no accident that last Tuesday marked the start of Canada Road Safety Week, a nationwide police effort in which officers try to crack down on impaired driving, seatbelt violations, cellphone use and speeding.
Nor is it coincidental that the annual SAFE Roads campaign, which is there to remind motorists to slow down when driving past road construction projects, or while sharing the road with emergency workers, kicked off in Manitoba on Thursday.
These initiatives, much like Victoria Day rain, have become an annual tradition, and with good reason.
As RCMP and government officials — and this paper — have endlessly warned the public, the Victoria Day weekend is infamous for having the worst number of fatal crashes in the country, mainly due to the high number of vehicles on the road over these three days.
And with the weather forecast looking especially pleasant for at least today and Sunday — Monday looks rather dreary, but we can’t control the weather — chances are a great many campers and holiday-goers will take to the highways.
<t$>The Winnipeg Free Press recently wrote that of the
80-plus fatal collisions RCMP will investigate in Manitoba each year, 40 per cent will involve impaired drivers. That should be a sobering statistic. <t-3>
Unfortunately, images of horrible collisions are never in short supply at this time of year, and emergency crews are called upon to deal with crash scenes that could have been prevented by motorists.
Not only can higher traffic volumes or fatigue on the road increase the risk to Manitoba drivers, as Manitoba Public Insurance points out, many accidents can also be attributed to aggressive or distracted driving.
At the risk of repeating ourselves ad nauseum, it’s our hope that Westman drivers heed the warnings from law enforcement and MPI, and slow down this long weekend while travelling on the highways.
Use your common sense and plan to arrive safely, whatever your destination.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 17, 2014