With an average of approximately 800 collisions reported on public roadways over the four-day September long weekend, Manitoba Public Insurance is urging drivers to avoid high-risk driving behaviours, like distracted driving, as they hit the road this weekend.
Overall, driver distraction is a leading contributor to fatal crashes, linked to nearly 50 per cent of all fatalities and 37 per cent of all serious injuries last year. On average, there are two deaths and 90 people injured over the Labour Day weekend.
Of note, Friday is the most dangerous day of the September long weekend with 37 percent of the collisions happening on that day, compared to Saturday (27 per cent), Sunday (16 per cent) and Monday (20 per cent).
“This upcoming weekend is the unofficial end to summer, with an increase in traffic on the roads with people traditionally closing their cottages and recreational sites,” said Satvir Jatana, MPI’s Chief Customer Officer. “Heavy traffic on our roadways, combined with distracted driving is a dangerous mix. Distracted driving is anything that diverts your attention from the responsibilities you have as a driver. If something causes you to take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or your mind off the task of driving, it is a distraction. And being distracted, even if it’s just for a few seconds, is all it takes to cause a fatal crash.”
Last year, there were a total of 44,339 reportable traffic collisions on public roadways in Manitoba – 70 of these were fatal collisions, while there were 5,667 injury collisions.
In this unofficial last weekend of summer, check these driving tips off your bucket list to ensure a fun – and safe – holiday for everyone:
- Don’t be a distracted driver. It’s against the law and adds five demerits on the Driver Safety Rating scale. Put away the smart phone (or anything else that takes your eyes off the road) and focus on the task of driving.
- Don’t drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Driving drunk or high slows reaction time and continues to be a major contributor to fatal collisions in Manitoba. It’s also a Criminal offence that can result in severe penalties including jail time.
- Don’t speed. Speeding at-fault drivers are responsible for deaths of 20people each year and injure about 900others. Speeding also includes driving too fast for conditions so slow down at night, in bad weather, or if traffic volumes are high.
- Buckle up. A person is more than 50 times more likely to be killed and almost four times more likely to be seriously injured when not wearing a seatbelt.
- Slow down in construction zones. Watch for signs as the speed limit will be lower in a construction zone. Follow directions. The flag person helps control the flow of traffic. Follow their directions, including slowing down or stopping. Remember roadside workers have a right to get home safely, too.