Don’t Make This Summer’s Road Trip Your Last. Know Your Railway Signs.

The road trip: It’s a summer staple many of us look forward to each year. There’s nothing quite like heading out on the open road with a car load of friends or family. But whether you are driving to the cottage or across the country, getting there in one piece should always be the goal. Almost 20 per cent of reported collisions in Canada happen during the summer months. In fact, according to Canada’s National Collision Database, there are more car incidents in August than any other month of the year. “It is during the summer season, starting with the first long weekend in July, that incidents rise, peaking in August because there’s more of us on the road,” says the Canada Safety Council’s Raynald Marchand. “There’s also more impaired driving during the summer months. It’s hot, so people like something cold to drink. They go golfing and then maybe they have a few extra drinks, and so on.” Impairment from alcohol isn’t the only reason for the spike in motor vehicle incidents. Road trips also mean long hours behind the wheel and people can end up driving when they are fatigued—and that can lead to incidents.   “We highly recommend that people share the driving with other members in the car and that they prepare the car very well so it will respond properly if they’re pulling a trailer,” says Marchand. “For example, if they’re approaching railway tracks, they will need more time to slow down and stop. They will also need more time to clear the tracks once they start again.” Knowing your railway signs and signals is another way to ensure you stay safe on the roads. But Marchand points out that Canadians need to remember that if they are traveling through the United States, railroad signs and signals look different. “They’ll be looking at a round sign with a yellow background and a big ‘X’ on it, rather than the more typical one we see here which is a white crossbuck with red on the edges,” he explains. “They need to be aware as they move from one country to another there will be differences in terms of rail crossings and the safety that relates to it.” So, make sure you aren’t a statistic this summer. Get to know your railway safety signs and signals before you hit the road and ensure your next adventure has a happy ending. It could save your life.