The August long weekend is almost here and many of you will be on the road travelling to holiday destinations or visiting friends and family. Traffic volume on Alberta highways is expected to be high, so take extra care to drive defensively, share the road, and obey the posted speed limits. Drinking and driving is always a major concern on holiday long weekends. If your plans include partaking in alcoholic beverages, ensure you plan for means of safe transportation throughout the weekend and always take steps to prevent impaired driving.
"Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death in Canada and prevention is the key. Ensure you make plans for a safe, sober ride home before you begin consuming alcohol." says Steve Daley, Acting Officer in Charge, Alberta Traffic Services. "If you're going to be drinking, make plans to have a safe ride home and encourage others to plan ahead as well. You might save a life."
Over the August long weekend last year, 108 people were charged with impaired operation in RCMP jurisdictions, including two boat operators. That same year, the presence of drugs or alcohol was a factor in 27.9% of all fatal collisions. Police remind everyone that impairment by drugs and alcohol results in a shorter attention span, an altered perception of time and distance, and slower reaction times.
"Whether you're behind the wheel of a vehicle, riding an ATV or even operating a boat this holiday weekend, remember that drinking and 'driving' is a no go," says Superintendent Rick Gardner, Alberta Sheriffs.
Below are some safety tips to prevent impaired driving:
- Always plan ahead: consider public transit, taxis, or finding a designated driver.
- Volunteer to be a designated driver. It's a great way to help keep you and your friends or family safe! (Alberta Transportation)
- If you are a designated driver, bring your own non-alcoholic drinks. (Alberta Transportation)
- Consider the size of your group and determine how many designated drivers are needed to transport everyone safely home. (Alberta Transportation)
- If safe transportation is unavailable, crash on a couch! It's better than crashing in traffic.
- Have discussions about impaired driving with youth and children in your life. There can never be too many reminders to avoid driving under the influence or with a driver who is impaired.
- Talk to your pharmacist about how your medication could affect your driving ability.
- Be aware of how prescribed medication interacts with alcohol so that you can prevent unknowing impairment.
- Spread awareness that driving under the influence of drugs is just as dangerous as alcohol.
- Have the difficult conversations that come up when you see someone planning to drive under the influence – talk them out of it or try to take their keys.
- If the impaired person does not listen, make sure their passengers do.
- If you see or suspect an impaired driver, call 911.
By practicing these few simple tips, we can help ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday long weekend.
Alberta RCMP Traffic Services work with Alberta Traffic Sheriffs in Integrated Traffic Units (ITUs) to deliver effective and efficient traffic safety services to Albertans, with a focus on identified enforcement priorities.