FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers are encouraged to exercise caution as they travel the province’s highways to take part in family or winter activities during the holiday season.

“It is important for all New Brunswickers to be prepared for winter driving conditions and practise safe and responsible driving habits,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry. “In bad weather, it is always wise to postpone travelling plans for safety reasons and stay off the highways if at all possible. Always remember to wear a seatbelt, do not speed, avoid distractions while behind the wheel, and never mix driving with drug or alcohol use.”

Here are some things you should consider before and during your travels:

Plan ahead

  • Check your route and the weather forecast.
  • Check road conditions and webcams at 511.

Be prepared

  • Get a maintenance checkup on your vehicle before a long trip.
  • Have a winter driving survival kit in your vehicle, including gloves, booster cables, windshield washer fluid, first aid kit, snow brush, water, safety vest and flashlight.
  • Clear all snow and ice from windows, mirrors, headlights and rear lights.

Give your cellphone a rest

  • Leave your cellphone out of reach where it cannot tempt you, or give it to a passenger to answer while you are driving.
  • Using hand-held electronic devices while driving is dangerous and against the law in New Brunswick.
  • Anyone caught using a hand-held device while driving will face a fine of $172.50.

Check your speed

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
  • No one wants an unnecessary speeding ticket during the holidays. Slow down and stay in control.
  • Avoid passing a snowplow in operation. It is dangerous to pass either between or around snowplows because of reduced visibility caused by whiteout conditions and the ridge of snow that can be created between plows.
  • Drivers exceeding the speed limit by 25 km/h or less will be fined $172.50. Fines can reach $292.50 for drivers exceeding the limit by more than 25 km/h.

Drive safely

  • Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you in case you have to brake suddenly on a slippery road.
  • Be careful when driving in shaded areas, and on bridges and overpasses, as these sections can freeze before the rest of the road.
  • Large trucks and buses can spray moisture or blow snow onto your windshield, leading to a loss of visibility. Drive defensively, and leave enough space to avoid such spray.

“The greatest gift to family and friends is the safe arrival of their loved ones,” said Landry. “I wish all New Brunswickers a wonderful and safe holiday season.”