ON THE ROAD … WITH HARVEY KOONER: No need for speed

WE’VE all done it before while running late for an appointment, on our way to work or going to get groceries – speeding.  In anything we do, the faster we go, the easier it is to make a mistake.  This is also true when a driver speeds.  During the pandemic, there have been fewer vehicles on the road and it may seem tempting to put your foot on the accelerator. It isn’t safe.  Speeding increases your risk of getting into a crash and reduces your ability to react to the unexpected.  Police across the province have observed an increase in drivers speeding since B.C. declared a state of emergency.  Across North America, other jurisdictions have also reported similar findings of not just speeding, but excessive speeding.

Speeding is a concern for all road users, not just drivers.  As the province slowly starts opening up and more traffic returns to the road, it’s important to remember to slow down so that you have more time to react.  Many families are taking this time to get outside for walks or bike rides, so it’s important for drivers to be extra cautious and be aware of pedestrians and cyclists.

In British Columbia, 82 people are killed in speed-related crashes on average every year, making speed the number one cause of car crash fatalities in this province.  Speed-related crashes take more lives in our province than distracted driving or impaired driving-related crashes.  “Abiding by posted speed limits, and adjusting speed relative to driving conditions, goes beyond simply obeying the law,” says Corporal Elenore Sturko, Media Relations Officer for Surrey RCMP. “It’s about being a good citizen and doing everything in your power to prevent driving-related deaths in our communities.”  

You’ve probably seen Speed Watch groups set up in your community near high crash locations. The portable speed radar equipment and big flashing reader boards provide drivers instant feedback on how fast they are driving.  This instant feedback gives drivers a chance to correct their behavior and travel at a safer speed.  If you are speeding, you don’t get a ticket…unless the police are around the next corner.

Whether you’re a driver, cyclist or pedestrian, don’t count on others to obey the rules of the road or to make allowances for you.  While people realize speeding increases the risk of crashing, the need to prevent speed-related crashes is even more significant today. Not only do we need to keep people safe, but we also need to avoid putting additional pressure on B.C.’s first responders and medical resources. 

For more information, safety tips and facts: https://www.icbc.com/road-safety/crashes-happen/Pages/Speed.aspx  If you must go out, check your speed and drive within the speed limits.  During these uncertain times in our world, I hope you are keeping positive, staying in good health and being safe.

Harvey Kooner is ICBC Road Safety & Community Coordinator

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