I know, I know. This is yet another New Year’s resolution post. But it’s not my fault. If you don’t write hack New Year’s, Valentine’s day, and Christmas posts, you lose your membership to the International Bloggers Union (no, we don’t get health benefits). Plus, this is important. Making a resolution to practice safe driving makes the road a better place for everyone.
How many accidents would be avoided if everyone kept a safe driving distance between themselves and the cars in front of them? Thousands! And yet, if you drive anywhere, you can watch the traffic queue up bumper-to-bumper or watch the headlights of some kid in a Subaru WRX disappear beneath your rear view mirror because you aren’t exceeding the speed limit as significantly as he would like.
In ideal conditions you should leave two to three seconds between your vehicle and the one in front of you. In suboptimal conditions (75% of the time in Saskatchewan) you should increase that number to five or six. To help you adhere to your new resolution consider adding the Following Distance Indicator technology available on most new GM vehicles. It will let you know when you’re going too close for safety. Then again, if you can’t tell you’re too close to a car’s bumper with your naked eyes, then you probably shouldn’t be driving.
Put the Phone Away
Guess what? Using your phone while driving significantly and needlessly imperils you, pedestrians, and other drivers. Per CAA, drivers who text are 23 times more likely to crash, 27% of fatal crashes in BC are the result of distraction, and 26% of crashes involve phone use. Further, distracted driving is a factor in four million motor crashes in North America per year.
Nothing happening on your phone is important enough to justify endangering lives – especially not choosing the right Snapchat filter to convey your ennui. So, spare yourself the $280 ticket and four license demerits and put down your phone.
A turn signal is a useful device. It indicates your intent to others so they can accommodate you on the road. If you signal for a lane change, it gives cars in your blind spot a chance to let you know they’re there, avoiding a potential collision. If you signal for a turn, vehicles travelling straight can move into a different lane or prepare to stop. In a utopia, the turn signal would be used early and astutely. Suburban Regina, if you hadn’t noticed through other means. Is not a utopia.
Around here (I expect the same is true everywhere), people do not use their turn signals early or astutely. They either use them after they’ve gotten into a turn lane (thanks for the heads up!) or while they’re in the middle of changing lanes. This behaviour is obviously dangerous and arises from simple laziness. More importantly, it is an insult to the memory of Oscar J. Simler, who invented the turn signal in 1929!
What are your New Year’s driving resolutions? Let us know in the comments below!