Use extra caution on the roads this holiday season

Use extra caution on the roads this holiday season

Many things can be done to ensure safety

Here’s a sobering thought.

ICBC says over the Christmas holidays and New Year’s that 510 people will be injured and two people killed in 1,890 crashes in B.C. That’s 35 crashes and nine people injured every hour.

Tips from ICBC to ensure everyone makes it home safely this holiday season:

* Check your vehicle. Many B.C. highways require winter tires, labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) designation. Top up wiper fluid for clearer visibility and pack an emergency kit including blanket, food and water.

* Slow down. Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions only. It takes more time and distance to come to a complete stop on wet, icy or snowy roads. Adjust speed to the conditions and always maintain a safe travelling distance between vehicles.

* Avoid distraction. Make important calls before you get in your vehicle and let family and friends know you’re not available while driving. If you’re on a longer drive, use highway rest stops to take a break and check your messages.

* Take a break. Pull over as soon as you start to feel drowsy. Get out and walk around to get some fresh air. If that’s not enough, pull over to a safe area, turn off your car and take a nap.

* If holiday festivities involve alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home. Arrange a designated driver, call a taxi, take transit or use Operation Red Nose where available. There’s no excuse to drink and drive.

During the Christmas period from 6 p.m. Dec. 24 to midnight Dec. 26, on average, one person is killed and 340 people injured in 1,200 crashes in B.C. every year.

During the New Year’s period from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to midnight Jan. 1, on average, one person is killed and 170 people injured in 690 crashes in B.C. every year.

Knowing all this as fact, why do so many people continue to drive recklessly? Is it worth the chance of becoming a statistic? Once the damage is done, there’s no turning back.