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Drivers told to prepare before hitting the highways on long weekend

Always be prepared to be caught in traffic.

Residents are being encouraged to be prepared before heading out on B.C.'s highways this long weekend.

Drivers can expect delays on the Coquihalla Highway 5 as portions of the highway are still one lane in each direction due to damage from heavy rains in November 2021 and ongoing reconstruction work.

The heaviest traffic volumes on the Coquihalla are anticipated to be northbound Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, from noon until 8 p.m. and southbound Monday, Sept. 5 from noon until 8 p.m.

And a weekend after a pair of crashes resulted in four deaths, and lengthy closures, motorists should always be ready for extended delays. On Aug. 28, a crash involving two semi trucks killed three people and closed Highway 1 at Yoho National Park for 24 hours. On Aug. 30, another person died in a semi crash on the Coquihalla south of Merritt resulting in a closure.

Duane Tresnich, a certified emergency manager and longtime Kelowna resident, says drivers are often not prepared to spend extra hours at the roadside.

"You never know what could happen. So if you do get caught behind a major crash or there is some sort of a natural disaster, avalanche, washed out bridge, you have some way of making sure you have water and food in your car."

Tresnich says some motorists assume they will be looked after by emergency services, but that isn't always the case. He added the long weekend poses some concern.

"Long weekend travel is always a concern because those times you do have a higher rate of accidents, so you should always be prepared to be caught in traffic or stuck somewhere where you have the proper supplies to get through the period that you are on the road."

Carrying a phone charger, flashlight, toilet paper and warm clothing is also recommended.

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