We’re in the midst of National Safe Driving Week, and police across the province are reminding everyone of the importance of staying safe when behind the wheel.

Although always important, it’s week’s like this that the BC RCMP encourage drivers to review safety tips. It’s all in an effort to keep drivers and their loved ones safe on the road.

With winter weather upon us, and Christmas around the corner, the RCMP says safe driving means being aware of surroundings, having a car that’s prepared for winter conditions, and always being alert and driving sober.

Police say drivers should be defensive, but avoid aggression. Maintain a safe distance behind other cars to give time to stop safely, and use caution when backing up, changing lanes and turning. Remember to stay out of other’s blind spots. 

Drivers are asked to obey all signs and signals, including speed limits, traffic lights, stop signs and railway crossings. The RCMP says tailgating, driving erratically, speeding, unsafely changing lanes, or yelling or gesturing at others can create undue risk on the road.

If encountering an aggressive driver, keep calm and don’t get angry or yell back. Instead, the RCMP advises you count to ten, breathe and relax. Then, when the situation is warranted, call police. 

To shift into winter, the RCMP says all four car tires should be winter rated and in good condition. Pack an emergency kit in the car, and be sure to turn on the headlights on those dark winter days.

Distracted driving is preventable, the RCMP says. It’s asking you to always leave the phone alone and out of reach, or even turn it off, as notifications can be distracting.

And, if out celebrating this season, police want drivers to get home safe. BC RCMP says impaired driving continues to be one of the leading causes of death on provincial roadways. 

If the plan is to drink anything that could lead to intoxication, leave the car at home and plan ahead. Call a taxi or take the bus, and don’t forget – masks are mandatory, so always have one on hand.