RCMP encourages drivers to play it safe going into the fall

By Angela Brown
September 12, 2017 - 1:53pm Updated: September 12, 2017 - 2:36pm

Battlefords RCMP are reminding drivers to take their time on the roads, especially going into the harvest season.

They are asking drivers to use caution when sharing the road with heavy farm equipment in particular.

“As we see farm equipment and farmers moving around during this harvest, [transporting] their combines or swathers up and down the grid roads and highways, people aren’t slowing down and giving them enough time to move off to the side of the road," Cpl. James Fenrich said.

He said oftentimes drivers will pass slow-moving farm machinery “darting in and out of traffic, trying to get around combines,” which is very unsafe.

“Generally, what people don’t realize is that the thirty seconds or sixty seconds they are going to take to wait for that combine to move out of the way, really doesn’t take that much out of their day,” he said. “If they just give it the few minutes that it would take, there would be safer roadways for everyone.”

Distracted driving remains a concern

Fenrich said, in general, police are noticing more cases of distracted driving despite ongoing public education.

“People just seem to disregard the new laws – distracting driving laws and cellphone laws,” he said. “They seem to continue to use electronic devices and not pay attention to the roadways, driving in an unsafe manner. By doing so, they are putting everybody at risk, including themselves.”

SGI reports, based on a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study, talking on a cellphone makes a driver three to six times more likely to be in a collision. People who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a collision.

On its website, SGI states driver inattention and distraction is responsible for 18 per cent of all collisions and leads to an average of 52 collision fatalities each year in Saskatchewan.

Fenrich said all driver inattention is dangerous, but people don’t seem to be getting the message.

“What they don’t realize is the reaction time is greatly slowed,” he said. “If they see the collision coming at all, they just don’t have time to react because they have been looking down, or paying attention to their cellphones.”

The officer encourages everyone to “drive safely, keep their wits about them, and keep their eyes on the road.”


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