As the Labor Day long weekend approaches, the RCMP is reminding drivers to obey the rules of the road in hopes of keeping highway collisions to a minimum.
Last weekend, there were four fatal collisions on Saskatchewan highways. Sargent Garnet Waldbauer, a member of the RCMP Combined Traffic Services Unit, said they don’t typically experience that many fatalities in such a short period of time.
“This year, we’re seeing a bit of an upward trend,” Sgt. Walbauer said. “We’ve had a couple of bad months, and last week for sure was not a good weekend.”
He said police prepare ahead of a long weekend because they typically see double the amount of accidents than on a normal weekend.
“You see an increased presence on the highway with our members and members of municipal forces,” he said.
The reasons behind collisions vary, but he added it’s important to keep the basic rules of the road in mind: obeying speed limits, not driving under the influence, wearing a seat belt and not driving distracted.
Tyler McMurchy, a spokesperson with SGI, said the increase of vehicles on the roads also increases the potential for collisions.
“We like to remind people that if they’re heading out on the highways, they’re not going to be alone. There’s going to be a lot of other people as well, trying to squeeze the last little bit out of summer,” McMurchy said. “In past years, we’ve seen upwards of 200-300 collisions on a Labor Day weekend, and several dozen injuries.”
The RCMP also noted a rising trend in collisions on gravel roads.
“We’re having many fatalities on gravel roads,” Sgt. Waldbauer said. “Whether it be inexperience behind the wheel, or just excessive speed, or impaired driving.”
The RCMP and SGI are also reminding the public about the increase in farm equipment and heavy machinery on highways at this time of year, as harvest continues. They say those collisions can be avoided by keeping an eye out and slowing down.