The BC Coroners Service is urging residents and provincial visitors to take extra care over the next few months and plan ahead for any excursions. (Black Press files)

BC Coroners Service urges public to drive with care

With summer officially here and upcoming road-trips with family or friends looking as exciting as ever, the BC Coroners Service is urging residents and provincial visitors to take extra care over the next few months and plan ahead for any excursions.

Per a news release issued by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General in collaboration with the BC Coroners Service, the latest available data captured by the BC Coroners Service states that there were 298 motor vehicle incident (MVI) deaths in British Columbia in 2017.

Over the course of the past decade, MVI deaths in B.C. luckily have decreased an average of 3.2 per cent per year, which ultimately represents an overall decrease of 29.6 per cent during that 10 year period.

Nonetheless, the worst months for MVI deaths in the province — according to the BC Coroners Service data — were July, August and September. On a percentage basis, these months came in at 9.9 per cent, 10.6 per cent and 9.7 per cent, respectively.

Furthermore, B.C.’s Interior saw the largest number of MVI deaths during the summer months between 2008 and 2017. Province wide, August consistently had the highest incidence of MVI deaths, reported by the BC Coroners Service.

That being said, with the inevitable increase of road-use during the summer, the news release states that the BC Coroners Service is encouraging motorists to “know before you go” and ensure there is a plan in place before making any trips.

Some of the general planning tips shared by the BC Coroners Service for a safe trip include planning ahead and being realistic when accounting for travel time. Allowing extra travel time for possible delays is always recommended, especially during a long weekend where increased traffic volume will be an issue.

Safety is also of the utmost importance. Seat-belts and obeying posted speed limits are a given, while also slowing down according to road conditions when the weather is poor is highly recommended. Maintaining a safe following distance from neighbouring vehicles is also paramount on any summer road trips.

In addition, the BC Coroners Service advises drivers to always check their vehicle before making any long trips. Making sure that engine oil, washer fluid, lights and tires are in good condition can certainly help avoid any unforeseen circumstances.

Carrying extra water and food is also highly recommended, especially if there is a long term stop or unexpected delay. Always having an up-to-date first-aid kit in case of an accident is also advised.

Finally, checking existing road conditions, weather, incidents or special events, such as construction, can ultimately make for an easier and safer journey, says the BC Coroners Service.

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