Zen and the art of driving

Editor Andrea Klassen's editorial for the week of July 27.

One busy weekend down, another one to go. While some of us are likely still recovering from a full-to-bursting Summerlude, there’s plenty more gearing up for the next big thing: the upcoming August long weekend.

Across the country the August civic holiday marks one of the biggest seasonal travel opportunities of the year.

Unfortunately, it’s also a time of year when the RCMP is most likely to send newspapers like ours statements about ongoing investigations into car crashes and highway collisions.

Highway 93 was already the scene of tragedy late last week, when a family of American tourists lost their lives after a tractor trailer jackknifed in front of their vehicle. That particular incident has an extra air of sadness, given those who witnessed the crash say they saw the family’s ’72 Dodge van do everything possible to avoid the collision.

Last year the August long weekend saw other fatalities in the region, including an accident near Golden that killed six and was at the time attributed to driver fatigue or inattention rather than speed or alcohol.

“We implore that the motoring and holidaying public please keep safety in mind when enjoying their leisure activities and on the travel portion of their vacation,” RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dan Moskaluk told media as the 2010 weekend came to a close.

It’s advice that’s worth keeping in mind.

The possibility of danger isn’t a reason to ditch the camper and hide in the house.

But once the gas is in the tank, little Timmy’s used the bathroom for the last time and you’re out on the highway, it’s worth taking a deep breath, slowing down a little and keeping the focus on the road ahead.

Given that you’ll likely end up behind a line of slower-moving vehicles at some point in the journey — or more than once, depending on the route — the zen approach to holiday driving isn’t only worthwhile for traffic safety reasons. In the long run, it’s probably good for your blood-pressure too.

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