Controlling celebration

The Victoria Day long weekend is a huge event for Canadians.

The Victoria Day long weekend is a huge event for Canadians. It signals the end of our long winter and is a headstart on summer. It’s a time for celebration, embracing the outdoors and travel.

It’s also a time of tragedy.

Every year in Canada thousands of people die in car accidents. Speed, alcohol and inattentiveness are the leading causes which means most are preventable.

In this business of news gathering, the May long weekend is always one we enter with a sense of dread. The increased volume of traffic, combined with the enthusiasm to embrace the extra day off, is often a deadly mix. Like other regions around the country, it’s almost inevitable that something is going to go terribly wrong in the Kootenays.

So what are we supposed to do? The answer is simple: take it easy. The long weekend should not be a race to the finish line. It should be about soaking it all in and really enjoying an extra break. Don’t speed, don’t hop behind the wheel after a few beers, don’t be tempted to answer your cell phone while roaring down Highway 3.

The worst highway tragedies are those that involve innocent lives. If some yahoo wants to tempt fate by being an idiot on the highway, that’s their personal choice. Too often, however, bad decisions end up taking the lives of children and drivers who stick to the rules. It’s not fair.

We’re not trying to be a long weekend bummer. Go camping, visit family in other cities, have friends over for a barbecue. But always remember that good times combined with bad choices can result in headlines nobody likes to read and stories we certainly don’t like to write.