Last summer, a loosening of restrictions corresponded with an increase in injuries and fatalities on the roads of Canada. To minimise the number of accidents this year, safety initiatives are reminding drivers to avoid risky driving behaviour, whether they are negotiating a busy parking lot in Vancouver or taking a leisurely road trip around Quebec’s national parks. As well as staying focused and alert, by being prepared for emergencies and extreme conditions, drivers can keep safe and continue to enjoy travelling around Canada all year round.
Careful Manoeuvring in Small Spaces
While busy roads can be more dangerous, collisions commonly occur in parking lots. Driving slowly and being aware of hazards can reduce the risk of hitting another vehicle or pedestrian. Minor collisions where a door or shopping cart results in damage to paint or bodywork can usually be resolved by swapping contact information for insurance purposes.
However, if a driver refuses to comply, the accident can be reported to the police as it then officially becomes a hit and run. Other parking lot accidents such as rear end collisions and side swipes can be more serious, not only causing damage to vehicles but potentially injuring drivers, passengers or pedestrians. Once the police and insurance companies have been informed, a car accident attorney can help pursue a claim for compensation if an accident has been caused by irresponsible driving.
Being Prepared on Major Routes
Having spent less time on the roads over the past 18 months, many drivers are feeling less confident about their skills, and only 10% of them feel adequately prepared to deal with an emergency such as a breakdown or accident. As well as reminding drivers to take out roadside assistance, a summer road safety initiative focusing on the busy 407 Express Toll Route in Ontario aims to alert drivers to the potential dangers on the road such as distracted driving or carrying insecure loads.
While major routes can be hazardous in the summer due to a higher volume of traffic, in winter, it’s important to plan ahead for driving in harsh conditions. Winter tires are recommended in all provinces when the temperature drops below 7℃, and in British Columbia and Quebec they are compulsory during the colder months. Carrying extra supplies including a shovel, warm clothes and non-perishable food is also advisable in case of becoming stranded in rapidly changing weather conditions.
Staying Safe on Open Roads
While the open roads may be quieter than major routes, staycationers enjoying a road trip should still be alert to agricultural vehicles especially during the busy farming months. Across Canada, traffic accidents cause 13% of farm-related fatalities so it is important that drivers remain patient while following tractors and understand the risks of overtaking a slow moving vehicle.
Even when long country roads are empty, they can be monotonous and lead to driver fatigue, a major cause of collisions. Tourists wanting to see more of the country can use one single road, the Trans Canada Highway, stretching almost 5,000 miles from the Pacific to Atlantic coast. On the longest national road in the world, being well rested before setting off, and taking regular breaks to visit major cities and sights along the way, can help to avoid being distracted by tiredness and falling asleep at the wheel.
Whether drivers are familiar with the roads in Canada, or they are exploring the country by car for the first time, when they are more aware of potential hazards and prepared for emergencies the risk of serious accidents and emergencies is reduced in any setting.