Jill Colton, staff writer
July 29, 2011 — If you're planning on driving this long weekend, it's a good idea to pack some patience. Traffic is expected to be heavier than normal and police will be out in droves, keeping a close eye on motorists.
Police say hot weather can frustrate drivers, making gridlock an even bigger annoyance. “We're seeing a lot more road rage incidents when people are frustrated because it's hot,” Sergeant Dave Woodford with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
“Sometimes you're stopped in traffic as a result of a collision and you're just stopped there until we can get you moving again. People are often in too much of a hurry -- you've just got to be patient,” he suggests.
Weekend summer traffic throughout the Greater Toronto Area is typically heavy, however police anticipate volume this weekend will be even heavier for a number of reasons. “It's one of the busiest there's a lot going on. We look at what's happening in the City of Toronto and outside so we've got a lot of people heading to the cottages -- not just for the weekend but for their annual vacation starts.”
With congestion even more intense than usual, police will be swarming major highways and roads watching for bad driving habits.
The regular infractions such as speeding, tailgating, using a cellphone to talk or text and refusing to wear a seat belt will be top priority for tickets.
Police will also be doing regular long weekend road checks throughout the region to curb drinking and driving.
If it's likely you'll encounter traffic this weekend, it's always a good idea to pack for the occasion. “Carry a cooler, keep some water in there, something to eat because you just never know what's going to happen.” Sgt. Woodford adds that sunscreen and hats are also good things to have.
It's also important to make sure you're carrying a secure load before you hit the highway -- especially if you're travelling at high speeds. “We see every long weekend -- all kinds of stuff from mattresses to even a hot tub (coming off a trailer at one point). We've see everything -- even stoves and fridges out on the highways.”
Although the holiday long weekend is about enjoying your time off, it's important to reach your destination safely -- no matter how long it may take you.