This is a great time of year to remind ourselves of the importance of safe driving. Winter is just around the corner, and you never know when the first snowfall will hit the Durham area. For our sake, we would be happy if Mother Nature took her time, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Last year, the OPP received more than 2100 calls into their communication centre during the first snow storm of 2013. You can’t control the other drivers on the road, but you can follow these six smart safety tips to stay safe:
Replace your windshield wipers. Even if your wipers have served you well over the summer, take a closer look to see if they are showing any signs of wear. The rubber edge will be required to combat freezing rain, ice and snow during the next six months, and you don’t want to find out the hard way if they have reached the end of their lifespan. Wiper blades are inexpensive to replace and make a huge impact on your line of sight as a driver.
Swap your tires. Tires are one of the most important components of your vehicle that can protect you from a potential accident. Not sure if yours are suitable for the season? Your trusted mechanic can take an educated look at the treads and advise you if it’s time to replace them. Tires are costly, but you will notice a major difference in your car’s traction. You never know when you’ll need to make a quick stop on a slippery road, so don’t hesitate to replace your tires if they have reached the end of their lifespan.
Wear your seatbelt. You have been told 100 times, but it never hurts to hear another reminder. According to Transport Canada, 25% of people who were involved in a fatal car accident were not wearing their seat belt. Buckle up, no matter how short your drive is, and make sure your passengers do the same. Not only is it the law, but it is a simple measure that has been proven to save lives.
Slow down in bad weather. Snow and rain reduce your visibly and tire traction on the road. This is the biggest mistake that drivers make at the beginning of the winter season, which is why there are so many accidents that occur during the first snowfall of the year. Give yourself extra time to get to work and leave plenty of space between you and the car ahead of you. This will make sure that you stay safe on the road.
Avoid distractions. According to the OPP, distracted driving was the #1 killer on Ontario roads in 2013. It accounted for more deaths than both impaired and speed-related crashes. The provincial government is currently in the process of introducing a bill that would increase the distracted driving fine to $1000. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
Check your lights. You owe it to the drivers around you to make sure your break and signal lights are in good working order. It only takes a moment to test them. Be sure to replace a burnt out bulb as soon as you notice it. Your signal lights are essential for preventing accidents because they are the only way to communicate with the vehicles around you.
Stay safe this fall on the roads. Car accidents happen every day across the province, but putting safety first can reduce your chances of being a victim.