Posted: June 1st 2018
BRIGHT SUNSHINE ROADS SPELL DANGER
Everyone knows that dark, icy winter roads are the worst. Right? Wrong. Stats and studies make it clear that our summer roads are deadly dangerous. Now, more than ever, is the time to spread the word to slow down, drop the phone and share that summer road.
6 key points make the threat clear:
- Traffic: Canadians love their long weekend escapes to sun, sand and cottage country. Summer roads are busy roads. Drivers aren't the only ones enjoying the good weather. Pedestrians, children and bicyclists join the traffic on warm summer days. Everyone and their dog is out on the roads in the sunshine. Your chance of a severe crash and serious injury is maxed to the limit;
- Schools Out: and so are children and young drivers. On average, young drivers have little experience behind the wheel. And also on average, more teenagers and millennials are glued to their cell phones and devices. Inexperience and distracted driving is a deadly combination for everyone on the road;
- Buckle Up: when we think the roads are slick and icy, we naturally reach for that belt to gird ourselves for our stressful winter commute. But we still need that belt after the snow and ice melt. That seatbelt is more necessary than ever on our congested summer roads;
- Impaired Driving: liquor and cars don't mix. Too many Canadians get the party started before they have even left their driveways. MADD Canada reminds us that impaired driving in Canada kills hundreds and injures tens of thousands every year. The dangers of impaired driving are known to all. It's no shocker. Don't start to celebrate your vacation until you arrive alive at your destination;
- Stoned Driving: this summer ushers in a new era with the legalization of pot. Questions, both legal and practical, surround how actual impairment will be detected through roadside tests and observation alone. Politics aside, everyone can agree that driving on our busy summer roads requires every ounce of our concentration, skill and experience; and
- Sunny Days: Sunnybrook Hospital physicians now suggest that bright, sunny days play a shocking role in car crashes. Bright sunshine days hike the risk by approx 16%, across the board for all demographics, and can't be explained by glare at dawn or dusk. Possibly our judgment is skewed by bright sunlight so we feel that need for speed. When we assume the driving is good, we drive faster. Check that speedometer and obey speed limit signs even when driving conditions are perfect. Sunshine is linked with an increased risk of a life-threatening motor vehicle crash. (From Abstract Jan.2017. Life-threatening motor vehicle crashes in bright sunlight, Redelmeier DA, Raza S. and Your Health Matters, Refresh your driving safety in time for the summer sun, May 15, 2017, Alexis Dobranowski).
Looks are deceiving. Winter isn't that bad after all. Summer, and it's gorgeous bright sunshine, is the one to watch for. So let's make hay while the sun shines and drive safe for everyone's sake this summer. Pass it on to family and friends. Spread the word so everyone can arrive alive this summer.
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