Keep vigilant as summer accidents pile up

KRISTEN'S COMMENT: It’s easy to let your guard down in the summer when the roads are in optimal driving condition

In light of the amount of accidents on our roads lately, it’s important that we all slow down, take our time and drive with due care and attention.

It’s an old refrain but it’s an important one.

It’s easy to let your guard down in the summer when the roads are in optimal driving condition and most think ‘it won’t happen to me, I’m a good driver.’

That may be true, but we all make mistakes. We all take risks we probably shouldn’t.

And at this time year, it seems many people are in a rush to get from point A to point B, whether that be to get home from work to enjoy the last few hours of sunshine, to go to the lake, to head out of town for a holiday, or go for a cruise to enjoy the fading daylight.

But all of those things will still be there, no matter how fast – or slow – you get there. And isn’t it more important to arrive alive and in one piece?

No one wants to get the news that their friend or relative has been in a car crash. Unfortunately, that’s been the sad reality for several families over the past couple of weeks.

On July 17, police were called to an accident scene on Highway 28 where a truck crashed into a power pole, closing down the highway for more than half an hour.

Then, just two days later, a logging truck lost its load after it failed to negotiate a turn near Echo Lake.

That same morning, a young Campbell River man tragically lost his life on Highway 19 near Roberts Lake after his pickup truck crossed the centre line and landed in a ditch.

And the rest of the Island is not immune.

Last Saturday, returning home from a trip down-Island, we were detoured at Parksville on the Inland Island Highway.

We found out later that a car travelling southbound crossed the grassy median and struck a truck towing a camper.

The man driving the truck, and his wife who was travelling in a car in front of her husband, were reportedly heading out on vacation from Victoria. The driver of the car was seriously injured while the man driving the truck was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Accidents such as these have been so prevalent this summer – in fact, three different car accidents headlined CHEK TV’s Sunday evening newscast.

Of course, accidents are nothing new.

It’s just that these crashes we’re hearing about and seeing are more than just minor fender-benders and they’re happening when the roads are dry and in some of the aforementioned cases, they’re single-vehicle incidents.

The bottom line is people need to give themselves ample time to get to their destination so they’re not in a rush and drivers need to be paying attention at all times.

That text can wait, and if it can’t, pull over.

It’s the same story with a phone call. Use a hands-free device or pull the car over to the side of the road and then make that call or answer the phone. It’s important that drivers are on their toes at this time of year and their undivided attention is on the road.

With summer comes an influx of tourists who aren’t familiar with our roads.

Many times I’ve seen a vehicle in the left-turn lane drive straight through. Then I notice the Washington state licence plate on the back of the vehicle and it all makes sense.

These kind of things happen and we should all be paying attention so that we, and tourists to our beautiful city, stay safe.

With B.C. Day coming up on Monday it’s even more important that drivers stay vigilant.

A Canadian study in 2013 found that long weekend travel can produce more deadly crashes than a typical weekend.

So please, stay safe, drive with caution, keep your eyes and attention on the road, and arrive home safely.

Your family and friends are counting on it.