Isn't the first long weekend of the summer season glorious? Victoria Day kicked it off a couple of weeks ago; now we have St. Jean Baptiste Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday and Labour Day to look forward to. Hopefully lots of fun and good times. However, these long weekends, and the summer driving season in general, bring a special set of conditions that drivers should be aware of en route to good times.
For example, as drivers, we're hauling more gear - on top of our cars as well as in trailers we're towing. Last year, on our way to Kelowna, an RV that was a couple of lanes over and a few car lengths ahead, hit a bump and the two bikes that were on the rack on the back bounced off. They went flying onto the highway. Several cars, including us, swerved to avoid them. It was a very scary moment and truly a miracle that we weren't in an accident. MEC has an excellent article on safely transporting a kayak on your roof and the Quebec chapter of the CAA has some good advice for towing a trailer safely.
The loads we're carrying aren't the only concern. Because we're on holiday we tend to be in good moods which actually makes us drive a little more recklessly; we lose our focus and those momentary lapses can cause accidents. We also take more risks such as not wearing a seatbelt: you know the excuses .. "it's a slow rural road" or "I want to be comfortable on my long road trip". In case you need a refresher, the CAA has some reminders about seatbelt basics.
Finally, and this is a problem no matter the season, texting and driving remains a huge issue. The CAA has some sobering facts about texting and driving:
- Checking a text for 5 seconds means that at 90 km/h, you’ve travelled the length of a football field blindfolded.
- About 26% of all car crashes involve phone use, including hands-free phone use. (National Safety Council)
- Estimates indicate drivers using phones look at, but fail to see, up to 50% of the information in their driving environment. (National Safety Council, 2012)
So give those phones to a passenger for safe-keeping or stow them in your glove compartments until you get where you’re going. Stay alert on the roads this summer and get safely to your destinations!
- Rose R.