No one likes to put a damper on summer. Few things in life are as welcome as the season of sun and fun. But the season invariably comes with a warning: summer is the most dangerous time to be on British Columbia roads.
The ICBC warns that almost half of all the province’s impaired driving deaths happen during the summer – 36 out of 78 victims. Think for a second about the reasons that this happens:
- More vehicles. Highways are full of vacationers. People take more time from work in the summer, and they don’t stay at home: they’re out, often on unfamiliar roads.
- More young drivers. Teens who would be in school during the year are out plying the roads. They are inexperienced, often risk-prone, easily distracted, and more likely to be impaired.
- More pedestrians. School is out, and people are off work or out of school, which puts more bodies on streets and crosswalks.
- More bicycles.
- Heat and sun glare. Some drivers fail to drink enough to stay awake and alert as the heat dries everyone out. Add to that the glare of the sun, which can blind motorists at times, creating instant road hazards.
- More drunk driving. DUI arrests go up in summer as barbecues and beach parties flourish. So do DUI collisions.
Sorry if we’re being Debbie Downer.
The good news is that summer road collisions are as avoidable as any others. You just need to be aware of the above points, and take corresponding action:
- Drive more defensively, watching out for young drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
- Wear good sunglasses to see well in the sun.
- Don’t get dehydrated – have (non-alcoholic) drinks with you on hot days.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Don’t let your friends drink and drive.
- Watch out for and report drunk drivers.
Have a fabulous summer, whether you’re in British Columbia or any other province. Drive safely.