Transportation Safety

DISTRACTED DRIVING IS DANGEROUS

Vehicles are a necessity for many people and certainly make life easier, but they can also be very dangerous. Being a responsible driver and owner can not only save your life, but also save the lives of others around you. Here are some important tips to remember to make the road safer for everyone.

 

 BEFORE YOU ENTER YOUR CAR

  • Keep your vehicle in good repair, including plenty of gas and current road maps.
  • Check your vehicle’s fluid levels and tire pressure regularly.
  • Obtain a "call police” sign and emergency kit (including jumper cables, flares, and a spare tire) in the event of a break down.
  • Carry an ice scraper and shovel in your car during the winter months.
  • Buy a cellular telephone and keep the batteries charged (at least every 30 days). Consider a cigarette lighter adapter to save batteries.
  • Have your keys in hand so you do not have to linger before entering your car.
  • View the interior of your vehicle before entering to assure no one is hiding inside, even if the doors were locked. Visually check the outside as well.

 

One of the leading causes of automobile collisions in Canada is distracted driving. Since October 2009, its been illegal to operate an electronic device while driving a motor vehicle. The fine for using an electronic device while driving is $280.00. The most common forms of distracted driving are talking on a cell phone or sending or receiving text messages while driving. Innocent people have been killed by drivers who were talking or texting while driving.

No text or phone call is worth the chance of causing a serious car crash or worse, causing the death of an innocent person. Pull over and find a safe place to park if you must use your phone. Otherwise, when driving, leave your phone...alone.

 

WHILE IN YOUR CAR

  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even a small amount of alcohol (and many drugs, including prescribed and over-the-counter medications) can affect your ability to drive.
  • Always lock your car after entering and when leaving it even if you're coming right back.
  • If you are in slow or stopped traffic, be sure your window isn't rolled down so far that someone can reach into your car.
  • Know your route and stay on it. Be sure you know how to get to your destination before you leave.
  • Seat belts save countless lives and only require a second to put on. Be sure you and every person in the car are buckled up.
  • If you are traveling with a young child, make sure he or she is properly buckled into a car seat (and that the car seat is the right one for the child's age and size -- Ministry of Transportation, see:  Safe & Secure: Choosing the right car seat for your child.)
  • For longer trips, bring any medicine you may need and spare water and food. Stay on main roads if you can and let people know where you will be going, what route you will be taking, and when you plan to arrive.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Park keeping in mind what the environment will be like when you return. Will it be dark? If so, park near lights.
  • If possible, reverse your vehicle into the spot for a clearer view upon exiting.

 

PARKING

  • Park in well-lit areas as close to entrances as possible.  Try to make a mental note of where you've parked.
  • Keep valuables (such as cell phones, wallets, and purchases) out of sight.
  • If you're parking in daylight, but coming back for your car at night, think about how the area may look in the dark.
  • If you are in a parking structure know where the nearest exit is and where you intend to go before you exit your vehicle.
  • Have your keys in hand as you approach your car and check around your car and in the back before getting in.
  • Try to walk to your vehicle with a friend.
  • Also remember that parking lots are where most fender-benders occur, so look around carefully before pulling in and out of parking spaces.

 

IF YOU BECOME STRANDED 

  • If your car breaks down, pull to the shoulder, and put on your hazard lights.
  • Keep doors locked and windows rolled up. If you open your window, only open it to the point of breaking the seal, no further.
  • If a stranger offers to help, do not get out of your car. Ask the person to call for assistance or advise them the police are on the way.
  • Place a "call police” sign in the window.
  • Be careful of passing cars when getting out of the car. Never try to cross a major highway.
  • Remember 9-1-1 on a cellular telephone does not give police your location. Know where you are so that emergency services can locate you. Consider using a GPS device to assist you.
  • Do not stop to offer help to a stranded motorist. Call for assistance for them.

 

IF YOU THINK YOU ARE BEING FOLLOWED?

  • Do not head home. You do not want this person to know where you live.
  • Drive to the nearest police or fire station, or any open business (gas station or restaurant). Stay in your vehicle and use the horn to draw attention to yourself.
  • Try to obtain the licence plate number of the vehicle following you, as well as make, model, colour, and a description of the driver. If you have a phone, call police right away.

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • Know the schedules and sit near the driver. During the evening hours ask the driver to let you off near your destination as part of their request stop program.
  • Use caution in conversations with strangers. Avoid giving your name, address, or place of employment. Avoid clothing or items that identify you or your profession.
  • Have someone meet you at your stop.

 

WHAT ABOUT ROAD RAGE?

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Pay attention to your driving. Do not drive while talking on your cell phone.
  • Keep to the right when driving at the speed limit.
  • Avoid tailgating, flashing headlights, or cutting other people off.
  • Switch the radio station if you’re being aggravated by what you hear.
  • Use your signals and be courteous.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF ROAD RAGE?

  • If someone is acting aggressively toward you, avoid eye contact while driving.
  • If someone approaches your vehicle acting aggressively, drive away if you can.
  • Do not leave the relative safety of your vehicle.
  • Do not issue or respond to verbal taunts.
  • Get a description of the vehicle and occupant(s) including licence plate and contact police.

 

 [Updated May 4, 2015]

 

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