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8 driving tips to boost your safety
No matter which province you call home, there are some safe driving tips all Canadians can use.
1. Get your car serviced regularly
OK, this doesn't really involve driving, but it's still important. Inspecting and (if needed) servicing the brakes, tires, battery, ignition, lights, and other key components of your vehicle can help nip mishaps in the bud — before you're on the road and vulnerable.
Even more important: Don't wait until bad weather strikes to take care of issues. Most of us have a tendency to let our auto maintenance lag when the weather's nice. However, problems with your car will only be exacerbated on winter roads, so remember to check your car regularly throughout the year … rain, sleet, or shine.
2. Keep an eye on the weather
Speaking of bad weather, it can strike at just about any time. While there's nothing you can do to change the weather, you can prepare accordingly by knowing what's ahead.
We recommend checking with weather.gc.ca for helpful updates and warnings on conditions wherever you'll be travelling.
3. Be prepared for animals
Wildlife is simply part and parcel of driving in Canada. Every hour there are 4 to 8 large-animal accidents throughout the country.
Especially around dusk and dawn, it pays to stay prepared and follow these animal-avoidance pointers:
- Keep eyes on the road at all times
- Drive slowly, especially in unfamiliar areas
- Avoid swerving (if possible); keep vehicle under control and tap the brakes
- Honk horn to scare animal off your path
4. Don't drive distracted
All provinces now have laws against distracted driving. And for good reason — data from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) suggests that roughly 80 percent of car accidents in Canada are caused by driver distraction.
Laws aren't always enough however; it takes conscious effort from all drivers to limit their distractions and spread awareness. While texting behind the wheel is the most common and potent form of distracted driving, others can include: eating while driving, fiddling with the radio, searching for directions, and even talking with passengers.
5. Drive sober
You don't need a slew of in-depth statistics to tell you driving under the influence is unsafe. It's not only alcohol that's a concern, but any type of drug, from marijuana to prescription drugs. Being responsible and driving sober is one of the best ways to keep the roads safe.
6. Keep your body rested
An alarming 20 percent of Canadians admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel. Of course, a solid 8 hours of sleep is the best tonic for tired driving. But it's also important to keep energized on the road with healthy snacks like almonds and fruit, and cat naps when needed.
Also make sure to get off the road when you recognize warning signs of driver fatigue — such as slowing down unintentionally, forgetting the last few kilometres you drove, and drifting from your lane.
7. Wear your seatbelt
This may seem like common sense, but it's one of the easiest safe driving tips to ignore. Fact is, only 4 provinces have a seatbelt-usage rate above 95 percent, far too few for comfort.
It's estimated that 300 Canadian lives could be saved annually by increased seatbelt use; so do your part and strap in for safety.
8. Pack an emergency road kit
Especially in rough winter weather, it helps to have emergency supplies on hand in case your car breaks down, such as:
- Non-perishable food and water
- Sand or kitty litter
- Map and compass
- Jumper cables
safe driving in canada and your auto insurance rates
Heeding driving tips in Canada can help keep you safe and sound as well as help you avoid car insurance claims. And the longer you go claim-free, the lower your car insurance premium tends to be.
Grab a free quote to see how much you can save and customize your policy directly online.