Manitoba RCMP are preparing for a busy long weekend as thousands of motorists hit the highways, travel to festivals and other destinations across the province.

Constables are preparing to deal with several issues such as impaired driving, speeding and higher than normal traffic volumes.

“Typically we see a huge influx of traffic on Fridays of long weekends, then Saturday and Sunday are a bit slower as people are in destination for the weekend,” said Sgt. Mark Hume, RCMP Northwest Traffic Services Unit Commander, “Monday afternoon we see this huge influx when everyone is coming home.”

Hume says officers on Saturday and Sunday will focus on detecting impaired drivers, as those numbers often increase over the long weekend.

“Provincially, this accounts for approximately 45% of our deaths each year. It’s a little less so far this year, but we’re only halfway through the summer, we still have a few big weekends ahead of us.

Speeding has also been a major issue this year, according to Hume.

“We’re seeing a huge increase in super speeders, our officers are stopping people from going 160, 170, 180 (miles per hour) or even more… we’ve had a few in the 200s lately.”

Hume reminds people to fasten their seat belts.

“We’ve had a lot of rollover ejection fatalities this year,” he said. “99% of the time, if people are attached, they can survive a simple knockdown.”

The increase in traffic is due to a number of festivals taking place in the province this weekend, including Rocking the Fields of Minnedosa, Pioneer Days in Steinbach and the Icelandic Festival in Gimli.

Hume says people just need to take their time and drive carefully.

“There is going to be a lot of traffic, people just have to be patient, get to their destination, drive within the speed limits and everyone will be fine.”

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