Sobering thoughts on giving the gift of safe travel

Drinking and Driving Counterattack - ICBC
Drinking and Driving Counterattack
— image credit: ICBC

VICTORIA - Choosing a sober driver, focusing on the road and keeping your speed appropriate to conditions are vital ways that you can ensure your family - and others - enjoy a safe season and reach your holiday destinations.

Beyond furthering your own health and safety, consider some of the other gifts you'll give yourself by making responsible choices about driving this winter:

* Savings of $600 to $4,000 toward your post-holiday credit card bills!

They're yours when you choose a designated driver, take transit or a taxi, use a volunteer-based safe ride home service like Operation Red Nose, stay in your host's spare bedroom - or make any smart choice that keeps you from driving after drinking and facing the costly consequences. At CounterAttack road checks, police will be enforcing the immediate roadside prohibitions that have helped to save more than 100 lives on B.C. roads over the past two years.

* A chance to see Santa's reindeer!

Okay, maybe they won't cross the road in front of you. But if you're distracted while driving - texting, using a hand-held phone, eating, changing CDs or otherwise not paying attention - there's a good chance you'll miss seeing something much more important, like a pedestrian or a red light. Distracted driving is deadly serious: on average, about 117 people die each year in B.C. and 1,400 are sent

to hospital because a driver wasn't paying attention. Talking on a hand-held phone at the wheel brings a $167 fine, while texting or emailing also nets you three penalty points.

* Having your car in your driveway Christmas morning!

This is one gift you won't enjoy if you speed excessively (more than 40 kilometres per hour over the posted limit) and have your car impounded for seven days - or, if you drive too fast for conditions and end up crashing. Give yourself enough time and keep your distance from the vehicle in front of you. Remember, the point is to enjoy family and friends when you get there - not if you get there.

* Inner peace!

Nothing takes away from your comfort and joy like losing control of your vehicle because you don't have the right tires to get you through slick conditions safely. Beyond using winter tires, check regularly that they're inflated properly, and turn off your cruise control when the road isn't dry.


Remember, if you're planning a road trip, the DriveBC traveller

information website can provide you with current information on road conditions around the province. For real-time highway cameras, a mobile app, a new route-planning tool and more, visit:

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