The Unexpected Dangers of Summer Long Weekends

May 12, 2015 | Cynthia P. Carels

With the sun shining, and weather warming up, Canadians will soon be celebrating the kickoff to summer’s long weekend season. The Victoria Day Long Weekend is just around the corner, and with it, often comes an unfortunate increase in traffic related deaths and serious injuries.

A recent Alberta study, using half a decade’s worth of provincial data, found that fatal accidents jumped by 18 percent on long weekends. While it seems intuitive to blame the fatalities on impaired drivers and speeders, the study found quite the opposite: those causes are actually most prevalent during regular weekends.

On long weekends, however, more drivers are travelling longer distances in vehicles filled with family and/or friends, and they may be visiting unfamiliar territory.  Distractions are high, as drivers fiddle with maps, GPS, phones, and other gadgets to find their way. When these distractions are combined with higher traffic volume and higher vehicle occupancy, the chances of catastrophic multi-vehicle crashes are escalated. Figuring out what set off the chain of events, and who/what is to blame often requires the expertise of traffic accident reconstruction specialists.

The study also showed that holiday travels are riskier for fatal accidents because of fatigue and inattentiveness, particularly when the journeys are longer and more monotonous than drivers are accustomed to. Tired drivers are more susceptible to run-off-the-road, right-angle, and left-turn-across-path collisions. Driving after sunset further heightens that risk.

As we head into our summertime long weekend season, the RCMP and Traffic Sheriffs will again be out in full force conducting enforcement and investigations on our highways. However, those efforts can only do so much, as catastrophic accidents continue to happen year after year. If you lose a loved one in a highway collision, or are injured yourself, it is important that you understand your rights, and how to protect the rights of a deceased person’s dependents.

Miller Thomson LLP’s team of personal injury lawyers is equipped to retain traffic reconstruction specialists, occupational therapy and vocational consultants, as well as economists, to calculate the damages flowing from fatal motor vehicle accidents. One of our experienced litigators will meet with you and your family, to explain the legal processes and what to expect, on a no-obligation basis.


This blog sets out a variety of materials relating to the law to be used for educational and non-commercial purposes only; the author(s) of this blog do not intend the blog to be a source of legal advice. Please retain and seek the advice of a lawyer and use your own good judgement before choosing to act on any information included in the blog. If you choose to rely on the materials, you do so entirely at your own risk.