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October 15, 2014

Slow Down and Increase Attention this Autumn and Winter

Thanksgiving weekend is known as one of the worst for road fatalities. This year, at least ten people are dead from car collisions and crashes in BC. According to ICBC, the average number for deaths is just three.

Rainy weather conditions were largely responsible for this year’s increase of fatalities.“With the summer that we had, with very little rainfall, there’s so much film and so much build-up on our streets and highways that the roads are extremely slick out there,” says Canadian Tire Manager Glen Gillis.“These first few rainfalls that we’re seeing, I think it catches a lot of drivers off guard.”

Gillis suggests preparing your vehicle for rainy and slick fall roads by:

  • Replacing worn-out windshield wiper blades
  • Making sure all car lights are working
  • Switch to winter tires (new BC winter tire laws are now in effect making winter tires mandatory on most provincial highways from October 1 to March 31)

Surrey R
CMP Sargeant Duane Honeyman warns that drivers should exercise extra caution. “You can slow down your speed and increase your distance from the car in front of you,” he said. “It just gives you a cushion for you to react to what does come out.”

While external conditions were a factor, activities inside the car were also likely to blame.

“A lot of accidents happen when something is in clear sight,” says Ron Rensink, an associate professor in psychology and computer science. “You need visibility and attention. If your attention is not on something, you generally do not consciously see it.” Although texting while driving has been targeted by the province, Rensink believes that hands-free devices are also part of the problem.

“If you have hands-free, that’s not enough,” Rensink says. “Don’t get too involved in your conversations.”


 

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