Make safety a full time community concern this weekend

Last year saw a significant jump in the number of fatal accidents taking place on Ontario roads, making 2017 one of the deadliest of the decade.

The August long weekend, known to those on Manitoulin generally as either Haweater Weekend or Wiky Powwow Weekend (cultural festival weekend has yet to catch on), provides a near perfect storm for potential tragedy as family and friends come together to enjoy the mid-summer weather, usually with far too heavy an overindulgence of sun and fun.

Mixing drugs or alcohol with any type of vehicle is definitely a very bad idea. This year, resist the temptation to go out on the water after having a few, let alone a few too many—and that includes non-motorized vessels. It goes without saying, but we are going to say it anyway, don’t drink (or drug) and drive. It just isn’t worth it when you stack up the potential to really ruin the day for everyone.

These days the temptation to tweet and drive must be added to the list of just plain don’ts. Never mind checking up on what everyone is up to on Facebook or posting a party pic to Instagram, it can wait until you arrive or take a pit stop.

It can be done. It does take a bit of common sense (alcohol consumption is not the best environment to enhance that sense) and a bit of paying attention, what self defence instructors like to call “situational awareness.” It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but look before you leap—in fact, quite literally. Diving headfirst into the water without checking for rocks is an all-too-common source of summer injury.

Accidents happen, but too often accidents happen that could so simply be avoided. Let’s all work together this weekend to reverse recent trends and make this a “vision zero” moment. Vision zero is the Swedish concept that can be summarized in one sentence: “No loss of life is acceptable.”

Have fun this weekend, but try to keep your wits about you and even be your brother’s (sisters and non-binary specific) keeper, especially if they can’t seem to manage to do so themselves. With a little bit of vision, we can have a vision zero weekend.