Your actions as a driver could save – or end – a life. You may be late for work, need to drop the children off at school, or are busy running errands and want to get it done fast. No matter what situation you are dealing with, keep your eyes on the road and your focus on driving safely. With an increase in the numbers of cyclists in Vancouver, staying alert is more important than ever. Gaining a few minutes by speeding is not worth the risk. According to the Canada Safety Council, there is a significant increase in fatal accidents during the summer months.
Be part of the solution by following these road safety tips:
Focus on the task of driving.
The Canada Safety Council reports that distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in Canada. It isn’t just the use of mobile phones that is creating the situation. There are many types of driver distraction, including eating, grooming, talking to passengers, adjusting in-vehicle systems (radio, GPS, video devices, etc.) and simply letting your attention wander. When you add a cell phone conversation or an obsession with checking texts or email while behind the wheel to the mix, you can see the scope of the problem. Your job, while driving, is to drive safely, defensively, and to follow the rules of the road. You can save lives and avoid a tragic and avoidable accident by staying focused on the task of driving.
Watch for “vulnerable road users.”
Vulnerable road users include the elderly, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The agency reports that one in four fatalities in Canada is a vulnerable road user – a staggering number. Don’t be the person who fails to observe that a motorcyclist or bicyclist is sharing the road. Always check your mirrors, shoulder-check your blind spot, and watch for pedestrians. Over the summer months, our streets and highways will be busier, with more people taking advantage of the warm weather. Watch out for children, pedestrians, and the elderly – who move more slowly – and for motorcyclists. You don’t want a serious injury or death on your conscience.
Many serious or fatal accidents are the result of failing to leave enough space ahead. Fast-moving traffic may come to a sudden stop, and you will be held accountable if you crash into the vehicle ahead. Tailgating puts you at risk of being involved in a multi-vehicle accident that could have been avoided by ensuring there is sufficient distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you to allow you to stop suddenly if necessary.
Be a courteous driver.
It can be frustrating to try to get to your destination and be stuck behind a driver who you feel is moving too slow. Our city is an international destination for tourists who often are lost or attempting to find their way in a new environment. Rather than taking aggressive action, drive courteously, and follow the rules of the road at all times. Although you may be in a hurry, driving discourteously won’t solve your problem and will likely gain you only a minute or two. You will be spending far longer waiting if you get into a vehicle accident, or cause an injury accident. Set your worries about time aside and focus on being a courteous driver. Let others into the flow of traffic rather than speeding up and take other actions that make driving safer and a more pleasant experience for everyone.
Turn off your phone.
Rather than spending your drive time on a cell phone call, turn it off completely. Many accidents are the direct result of a driver who is involved in a conversation. This is called a “cognitive distraction,” as the driver is far less attentive to the environment. Set a good example for your children, and shut off your phone. Never, ever look at a text or email while behind the wheel, even if you are stopped at a light or stop sign. The easiest way to develop good driving habits is to just turn off your phone or put it on silent while you drive.
Use public transit.
Our public transportation system is extensive, and you may be surprised how pleasant it can be to take the bus to work, rather than driving. You can take the time to read, rest, or just enjoy the ride. Make it a habit. You will save on the cost of gas as well as having a much more peaceful journey.
Injured in an accident? Call Klein Lawyers LLP. We are a personal injury law firm that can help you to pursue an ICBC settlement after an accident. With over 20 years of experience, we are recognized as one of the premier injury law firms serving the Vancouver area, and we offer a free consultation to prospective clients. Call us for assistance – we are ready to help.
- Canada Safety Council: Be a Road Hero