Sean Weimer

Sean Weimer of the Lifesaving Society shows a combination window punch/seatbelt cutters. (Aldo Columpsi/CBC)

This is turning into a bad year for water-related highway deaths in Saskatchewan, according to the Lifesaving Society.  

On Tuesday, it said that at least eight people have died after their vehicle entered water this year. That's above the five-year average of five fatalities per year.

The Society attributes the higher number this year to wetter conditions around the province.

"We just seem to consistently have that water coming, the ditches have not lowered at all, the lakes have not lowered at all, the rivers are still kind of at their peaks," said Shawn Weimer, special projects manager with the Lifesaving Society. "So we are definitely having a lot more challenges this year, and the risk is definitely higher."

Factors include alcohol, road hazards

Police believe alcohol may have been a factor in at least one case where a vehicle rolled into a slough and landed on its roof.

However, Weimer said other risks can lead to the same end, such as texting and other distractions while driving. And there are the sudden events, too.

"Someone blows out a tire or something runs across the highway that we're trying to avoid," Weimer explained.

He urges drivers to be aware of the water around the road and recognize the hazard.

If the vehicle lands upside down in the water, it's especially urgent to get out as fast as possible.

Weimer urges drivers to keep a window punch and seatbelt cutter in their vehicles.