4 Tips to Avoid Road Traffic Accidents
Many of us spend more time in our cars with today’s busy schedules. The temptation to multitask when driving, going faster than the posted speed limit or just not abiding by basic safety measures can all increase your chance of having an accident. Here are the top actions to avoid while driving to help reduce the likelihood of an accident, whether during your summer road trip or your winter commute.
1. Distracted Driving
We have all seen people in our neighbourhood driving without paying attention to the road. We have seen it on the highways as well. We may even be guilty ourselves at times. Today’s vehicles are more accessible to drive than ever before, bringing a range of “autopilot” features ranging from cruise control to lane assist and automatic emergency braking. These features can lull drivers into a sense of safety. While these features can boost safety, in the end, drivers are still responsible for piloting the vehicle without distraction. Even if your car has advanced safety features, the road can change quickly, requiring an attentive response. Here are some of the activities some drivers do while driving that lead to distracted driving.
- Talking or texting on the phone
- Reading maps or using a navigation app
- Talking to passenger
- Adjusting the stereo
We’ve all been there. Someone cuts you off, stops unexpectedly, or veers too close. Maybe it was another driver. Maybe that someone was you. Often, driving mishaps are unintended, but if you’re going too fast, they can be fatal. Maintain a safe following distance. Generally, you want to keep at least one car length for every 10 MPH speed. At 60 MPH, stay back at least six car lengths. At lower speeds or in busy areas, consider leaving even more space. It’s tempting to go fast when you believe the driver in front of you is going too slow. Keep a cool head and consider the other driver, they could be lost, or maybe they are just learning. Be patient and don’t pressure them to go at your pace; wait until the road allows you to pass them safely.
3. Safety First
Whether driving a car or riding a motorcycle, you want to adhere to the safety practices to protect yourself. This can be ensuring you’re wearing your seatbelt, not letting small children ride in the front seat, or wearing your helmet when out for a ride. Your safety comes first. If you’re new to riding, the leather ensemble many seasoned motorcyclists wear isn’t just a fashion statement. The thick leather serves as a second skin. Not only can it protect against the elements, but it can also help protect your real skin against road rash if you and your bike part ways while in motion. Leathers built for motorcycling have padding or multiple layers at vulnerable contact points, like the elbows.
4. Driving Under the Influence
It doesn’t matter how old you are. Drinking and driving is a recipe for disaster. Alcohol was a factor in the deaths of more than 1,200 Canadian road users. Disturbingly, young drivers are the worst offenders. Recent statistics show that 56% of all drinking and driving incidents are caused by people between the ages of 19 and 24. Your insurance coverage may be reduced or denied if you allow your vehicle to be used unlawfully, e.g. driving while under the influence. In accidents where people are seriously injured, it is not uncommon for a lawsuit to follow. Although your policy provides liability coverage, it may not be enough, and you could be personally exposed to catastrophic financial loss. Interesting fact, liability is one of the cheapest coverages you can purchase for insurance. Start an online quote and see for yourself!
Over the past decade, increased media awareness, education programs and non-profit groups have helped reduce the number of accidents we see related to some of the topics above. By warning our youth with the information to make educated decisions, we hope these numbers will continue to decline. However, accidents can still happen even if we are careful, and that’s when your insurance can help protect you even further.
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