ICBC's tips for the last long weekend of summer

VANCOUVER, Sept. 2, 2011 /CNW/ - With the favourable weather forecasted for this Labour Day long weekend, many of us will head outdoors, enjoy one last summer get-away or focus on preparing our kids to head back to school. ICBC, police and the Solicitor General are reminding you to plan ahead for the last long weekend of summer.

On average, there are approximately 1,893 crashes, 568 injuries and four fatalities in B.C. over the Labour Day long weekend.*

"We want everyone to enjoy the long weekend with their family and friends," said Shirley Bond, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "Whatever your plans are, help keep our roads safe - be a role model and make smart driving decisions over the long weekend."

"We are beyond lecturing people about the evils of drinking or doing dope and driving," said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Traffic Committee Chair of the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police (BCACP). "If you don't get it, we will lock you up and seize your car and ban you from driving. Trying to hide your texting or cell phone chatter by holding the device in your lap is just plain stupid - you will be caught and charged. We all must show personal responsibility to keep the road safe from senseless deaths and injuries. The police all over the province will be watching. Practice safety, be smart, focus on the road - have a safe long weekend."

"We're asking you to think about how you can help make our roads safer," said Fiona Temple, ICBC's road safety director. "We all play a role - ask yourself how you can help make a difference. Your smart decisions can have a significant influence on others."

Here are ICBC tips for smart driving over the Labour Day long weekend:

No. 1 - Plan ahead: If your activities will include alcohol, take all the necessary steps to make sure you get home safe - make plans to have a designated driver, take a taxi, public transit or call a friend or family member for a ride home.

No. 2 - Eliminate distractions: Driving is a complex task that demands your full attention. When you're behind the wheel, anything that competes with your attention impairs your driving ability and increases your chance of being in a crash. A distracted driver is a dangerous driver. A new Ipsos Reid survey found that nearly nine in ten respondents (87 per cent) believe texting or emailing while driving is one of the most risky things we can do behind the wheel - in fact, 76 per cent believe it's just as dangerous as drinking and driving. So if your cellphone rings while driving, let voice mail do its job and call back later. If you need to take the call, use a hands-free device and keep the conversation brief. Remember, police will be out enforcing the law during the month of September. Find more tips at

No. 3 - Be realistic: Get plenty of rest and plan your trip realistically - build in time for rest breaks and delays. Before you leave, go to to check road and weather conditions. There will be more vehicles on the road over the long weekend, so allow extra time for possible setbacks.

No. 4 - Slow down and keep your distance: Always stay within the posted speed limit and maintain a safe travelling distance - at least three seconds on high-speed roads or if you're behind a motorcycle. You may think that by speeding, you're cutting down on your travel time but what you're really doing is decreasing your reaction time and putting yourself and others at risk. There may be also more pedestrians and motorcyclists out enjoying the good weather this long weekend - take extra caution and watch out for them.

No. 5 - School's back: Don't forget - on Tuesday after the weekend is over, kids go back to school and that means drivers need to pay extra care and attention around school and playground zones. Police will be closely monitoring speeds in school zones, ensuring that drivers stick to the 30km/h limit. Some key points for drivers to keep in mind are that as people are returning to work or school from summer holidays, more vehicles will be on the road and that means more congestion. Allow extra time and don't rush - especially through intersections. Remember to look for children and pay close attention near or around crosswalks.

For more information and tips, visit

*Annual crash and injury averages based on 2006-2010 ICBC data. Annual fatal averages are based on 2005-2009 police-reported data.

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Media contacts:  Adam Grossman, 604-982-1332

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