OPP encourages public to play part in ensuring a safe and happy Thanksgiving

MANITOULIN–The Thanksgiving long weekend is a time for families and friends to get together and enjoy the change of season. It is the first long weekend of the school year; so many “starving students” will make their way home with full laundry bags and hearty appetites looking forward to a home cooked meal.

This means that Ontario’s roads and highways will be busy as the weekend approaches. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is encouraging motorists to practice safe driving habits along the way.

• Keep your eyes on the road and your mind on driving. Avoid using hand held electronic devices. A distracted driver is four times more likely to be involved in a collision. If you must use your cell phone or send a text, do it from the side of the road after pulling off safely. Use hands-free devices if you have them.

• Plan ahead and give yourself some extra time. The highways are going to be busier than usual, so leave a little earlier and expect delays. Show courtesy to other motorists and obey the speed limits. Aggressive Driving and Speeding really don’t save you any time and it dramatically increases the chances of a collision.

• Be a sober driver. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime and dangerous–period. If you plan to drink this weekend, make arrangements to get home safely (taxi, bus, designated driver, stay overnight). If you see a possible impaired driver, call police.

• Wear your seatbelts and ensure your passengers wear theirs. Ensure that child and booster seats are installed properly. They save lives and prevent more serious injuries in a collision

• Be alert to wildlife on or near the roadway. Fall is the time of year when some species of wildlife are moving to their mating or winter feeding areas. Some animals are also travailing to other areas in search of food as natural sources are becoming scarce. Reduce your speed and scan the roadway from tree line to tree line in areas where encounters with wildlife are common–especially between dusk and dawn.

Sudbury OPP Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Garry Mills says, “Thanksgiving is one of the busiest traffic weekends of the year. Take your time and drive safely to ensure you enjoy happy and safe weekend with your family and friends.”