Parties, weather need driving plan

The holiday season reiterates the need for a safe ride home

With December in full swing and Christmas parties happening almost every weekend this month, we all need to plan ahead to find a safe ride home.

While it is repeated annually, and at various less festive times during the year, that message seems to be getting through.

The results from last Friday’s Lighting up the Highway Counter Attack enforcement blitz undertaken in our area by West Shore RCMP and other police agencies would indicate that people are, by and large, abstaining from drinking and driving. Of the hundreds of vehicles checked over the course of the evening, just three drivers were nailed for impaired driving.

Few people can afford the consequences that come with an impaired driving conviction, whether that means an inability to drive for work, higher insurance rates or problems going through the U.S. border.

While hospitality businesses in B.C. have felt the pinch in recent years, with lower liquor sales stemming from tougher drinking and driving penalties, the end result is a lower likelihood of impaired driving-related crashes, and that is a good thing.

Speaking of being careful on the roads, this week’s Greater Victoria-style blast of winter weather has added to the need to take more caution when travelling around the region by vehicle. As View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst noted in a Gazette story, driving a sport utility vehicle or a truck with four-wheel-drive capabilities doesn’t negate the need to drive more slowly and acknowledge the road conditions.

Coastal winter conditions, given the freeze-thaw-freeze scenario that is common during our winters, makes even appropriate snow tires only one weapon to use when faced with such driving challenges.

Leaving a little earlier to reach your destination safely, because you’ll be driving more slowly, is another. Doing so can be more relaxing, not only for you, but for those drivers who might feel harassed by your tailgating or otherwise driving in an unsafe manner for the conditions.