Avoiding Preventable Accidents and Staying Safe on the Road
According to Ontario Ministry of Transportation, there are over 80,000 vehicle accidents each year in Ontario. Although we have some of the safest roads in the world, there are still plenty of things that drivers can do to increase their awareness and improve their vehicle’s safety. Most accidents are preventable. Whether you have been driving for a few months or many years, it’s always a good time to remind yourself to have good driving habits.
Wear your seatbelt. Buckling up only takes a few seconds, but it can truly be a lifesaver. Even if you are only driving a few minutes away from home, putting on your seatbelt should be a regular habit for all drivers and passengers.
Adjust your speed for bad weather. Snow and rain can dualistically reduce your ability to stop and impede your visibility. Even if your car has good tires, you can’t always trust that other drivers can safely maneuver to avoid danger. Keep a safe distance away from the car in front of you, and be sure to check your mirrors regularly.
Check your signal and break lights. Your signal lights are your only way to let other drivers know your intentions. If you have ever driven behind a car with no break lights on the highway, you know how dangerous and unpredictable it can be. Make sure that all your lights are in good working order every time you bring your car in for a service.
Avoid distractions. Did you know that distracted driving is cited as the cause for 30 – 50% of accidents on Ontario? As we become more and more dependent on handheld devices for communication, navigation and entertainment, it’s easy to become distracted while you are on the road. Keep your hands on the wheel and your devices tucked away until your car is parked.
Don’t drive when you’re tired. Driving while tired is dangerous because your reaction time is significantly reduced, and as a driver you can experience similar limitations as you would after having a few drinks. If you need to drive late at night, keep the temperature cool in your vehicle and be sure to take a break or switch drivers if you start to feel sleepy.
Replace your tires when they reach the end of their lifespan. Your tires are your last defence when you need to swerve or stop on short notice. Be sure to replace them when the tread wears down, and keep them properly inflated at all times.
Replace your windshield wipers regularly. Nothing limits a driver’s visibility like a sudden rain or snowstorm. Friction, heat from the sun, and exposure to the elements cause the rubber edge to become tattered. Even though they might look fine, test them out at home or in the car wash so you can tell if it’s time for a new set.
Go for regular tune-ups. A maintained car is a safe car. Your mechanic is trained to detect potential problems before they become a serious issue. Investing in your car’s recommended maintenance schedule is essential for your vehicle’s safe operation.