ICBC's tips for summer road trips

VANCOUVER, July 23 /CNW/ - As British Columbians are enjoying the warm summer days, for many that also means summer getaways. If you'll be hitting the road, you can help make our highways safer by slowing down and making smart driving decisions.

Take all the necessary steps to have a safe and enjoyable summer vacation. If your activities will include alcohol - be safe - don't drink and drive. The dangers are well known and police are out in force to keep drinking drivers off the road. And remember it is now illegal to use hand held devices while driving. A distracted driver is a dangerous driver. Find out more at drivecellsafe.ca.

In the summer months of July and August, over the years 2005 to 2009, there is an average of 1,232 crashes and 361 injured victims on B.C. roads every weekend.

Here are additional tips from ICBC for safer summer road trips:

No. 1 - Be realistic: Plan ahead and be realistic about travel times. Allow extra time for rest breaks and possible delays, especially over a weekend where there may be increased traffic volume. Check drivebc.ca for road and weather conditions before setting out.

No. 2 - Check, check, check: Long road trips can be tiring for drivers and passengers but also on your vehicle, so make sure it's up to the drive. Remember to 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. For more tips on preparing your vehicle, go to drivesmartsavegreen.com.

If you'll be towing a recreational trailer, make sure you do a thorough pre-trip check before you hit the road. Drive to an empty parking lot to practice manoeuvring your vehicle while towing a trailer. For more information on towing a recreational trailer, please visit: http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/getting-licensed/towingrv/towing-recreational.

No. 3 - Secure it: Make sure you properly secure all items inside and on your vehicle, like bicycles and items on your roof rack. During rest breaks, take a few moments to check that your cargo is still properly secured.

No. 4 - Drive smart: Remember that although you may not encounter a lot of traffic along highways, it's important to stay within the posted speed limit and always maintain a safe travelling distance - at least three seconds on high-speed roads or if you're behind a motorcycle. You might think that by speeding, you're cutting down on your travel time but what you're really doing is decreasing your reaction time. The weight of your vehicle (especially with extra cargo), will also impact your ability to stop. Remember that wildlife is also more common along highways.

No. 5 - Are you covered? If you'll be renting a vehicle this summer, make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. You might be surprised to learn that you're already covered by your auto insurance company so check with them first. If not, shop around for the best rate and coverage for your needs. For information on ICBC's Rental Vehicle Coverage, please visit: http://www.icbc.com/autoplan/optional/roadsideplus/rental-vehicle.

If you are involved in a crash, ICBC's Dial-A-Claim service is open 24 hours a day, including holidays. In the Lower Mainland, call 604-520-8222, and for the rest of B.C., call 1-800-910-4222, or you can file your claim online at icbc.com.

Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/icbc.

SOURCE ICBC

For further information: For further information:

Media contacts:  Kathy Taylor, 604-982-2480

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