Resolve to be a better driver in 2017
1. NO MORE SPEEDING Driving is a complex and high risk activity. Over the last 50 years, more than 110,000 Canadians have lost their lives on the road. More than 85% of these collisions were avoidable. This is a mind boggling number that should inspire serious contemplation of the decisions we make on the road, particularly when it comes to our driving habits and behaviors. Speeding is a form of aggressive driving that is responsible for over 27% of fatalities in collisions (MTO). The number may be higher when we factor in the collisions that occurred at vehicles going at speeds below the posted limit but were still going too fast to drive safely in its conditions. Remember, the posted speed limit is for ideal driving conditions. In Canada we are faced with icy, snowy, inclement weather conditions in the winter (no that's not us complaining!). It is especially importance to drive slowly and carefully during this time. Consider the stopping distance and time needed to perceive, react and brake. By decreasing your speed, you decrease your vehicle's stopping distance. 2. STOP TEXTING AND DRIVING The verdict is in. Distracted driving is one of the biggest public safety problems we are facing on the road today.
See our segment on CHCH (November 2016) http://www.chch.com/distracted-driving-simulator/ Cell phones are one of the most common distractions for drivers. Drivers engaged in text messaging on a cellular phone are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010) Drivers who are engaged in the following distractions are more likely to be in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers.
Text messaging (or texting) on a cell phone — 23 times more likely
Talking on a cell phone — 4 to 5 times more likely
Reading — 3 times more likely
Applying makeup — 3 times more likely
Reaching for a moving object — 9 times more likely
Dialing on a hand-held device — 3 times more likely
Talking or listening on a hand-held device — 1.3 times more likely
You can do your part to reduce the danger on the roads by committing yourself to limiting/avoiding these distractions. We never said it was going to be easy, but it may save your life and that of others. Silence your phone, turn it off, or in the case of an emergency, find a safe place to stop if you must use your phone. Trust us, #itcanwait.
3. BE COOPERATIVE DriveWise has pioneered the "6 Star Approach" to cooperative driving. What do we mean by cooperative driving? To be a safe and responsible driver, you need to be proactive and cooperative not just defensive. We can do this by communicating our intentions to others on the road, and remembering that safety is a shared priority as much as we share the road with other drivers to get to our destinations. We also want to ensure everyone arrives there safely.
From the MTO Driver's Handbook: You must care about the safety of others on the road. Everyone is responsible for avoiding collisions. Even if someone else does something wrong, you may be found responsible for a collision if you could have done something to avoid it.
Because drivers have to co-operate to keep traffic moving safely, you must also be predictable, doing what other people using the road expect you to do. And you must be courteous. Courteous driving means giving other drivers space to change lanes, not cutting them off and signalling your turns and lane changes properly.
You must be able to see dangerous situations before they happen and to respond quickly and effectively to prevent them.
Our "6 Star Approach" which is used from Novice to Professional Driver Training focuses on effective techniques that, if implemented consistently, will help you to be a safe and cooperative driver. 4. DO A PRE-CHECK Check Yourself. Sometimes you'll go sideways (literally) on the road due to mechanical failure, but more often it is caused by driver behaviour and decision making. It may be hard to make the right decisions if you are impaired or fatigued, it is best to refrain from driving. What is your physical and emotional state? Some may call it being mindful, we call it a pre-check. Reduce your risk by giving yourself the green light before you head out . Look great, feel great, drive wise. While you're busy shoveling and brushing the snow off your car, walk around your car to make sure there are no hidden hazards. Check your windshield wipers, fluids, lights, tires, leaks, etc.
5. ALWAYS WEAR A SEATBELT Transport Canada reports that while 93 per cent of Canadians buckle up, the seven per cent who don’t account for almost 40 per cent of fatalities in vehicle collisions. Seat belts save about 1,000 lives a year in Canada. More lives could be saved if everyone buckled up for every trip. 6. NOT DRINK AND DRIVE Fortunately there's been plenty of PSAs and media coverage of the dangers of impaired driving, thanks to efforts by groups such as MADD. We can share some sobering statistics but the message is clear: let's endeavor not to drink and drive this year. Driving requires complex motor skills, just one drink can impair your ability to drive safely. It can be difficult to avoid alcohol at parties, so have a designated driver, take public transport or a cab. Celebrate life, choose wisely.