Keep Safe on Ontario’s Highways
The following are seven driving safety tips that can increase road safety and reduce the risk of accidents. This summer, please drive safe – you are important!
1. Be Mindful of Blind Spots
Visibility is key to preventing road accidents, especially if you’re operating a larger vehicle, which has more blind spots than a small car.
Minimize lane changing and check your side mirrors at least once every ten seconds can be an effective way to increase safety and road awareness.
It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the blind spots not only of your truck but also of other vehicles on the road.
2. Understand the safe braking distance
The bigger the vehicle, the longer it takes to stop. In comparison to an average-sized car, it takes an 18-wheeler 40% longer to stop completely. For example, a fully loaded tractor-trailer that is going on 90 KPH on dry pavement will travel to approximately 390 more feet in 4.5 seconds before stopping.
For new drivers who are accustomed to driving smaller vehicles, it may take some time for them to get used to the braking distance of large commercial vehicles.
3. Avoid Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of road accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that delayed driver reaction causes 90 percent of rear-end accidents.
Every manner of distracted driving, be it texting, smoking, or using mobile apps, must be avoided at all costs to increase road safety.
4. Let Tailgaters Overtake You
Sometimes, the only way to avoid road accidents is to steer clear of other drivers who are either too aggressive or just outright reckless.
Tailgaters, for instance, are drivers who drive too close to your vehicle — depriving themselves the adequate amount of space needed to decelerate in case you need to make a sudden stop.
Instead of accelerating to make way for space the other driver needs to operate safely, a better approach is to switch to a different lane, if possible, and let the tailgater overtake you. Just don’t forget to use your turn signals and watch out for other vehicles and hazards on the road.
5. Follow The Signs
Road signs are there for a reason. You don’t just follow speed limits and be aware of the vehicles in front of and around you. To add to your level of safety, you also need to pay close attention to the road signs and local traffic rules in the area.
Plenty of drivers — unintentionally or otherwise — occasionally go over the enforced speed limit. This may cause them to lose control of their vehicle when maneuvering through sudden, sharp curves, uneven surfaces, construction hazards, and other road irregularities.
6. Don’t Drive Tired
Tired drivers have reduced response times and, worse, can fall asleep at the wheel leading to devasting consquences. If you are on a long trip, take time to stop, stretch, have a coffee and see the sights. You’ll enjoy the trip more and be a lot more safe.
7. Wear your Seatbelt
This is a critical safe guard against injury and/or death when there is an accident. In Ontario, seat belts are mandatory, as are properly installed child seats. It takes only a second or two to belt up – play it safe and do it everytime before you start your vehicle.