These 23 traffic safety tips come from Safety Services Newfoundland and Labrador, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of injuries and fatalities. Using them will drastically reduce your chances of a traffic accident.
1. Reducing your speed is the easiest and most effective defensive driving strategy you can implement.
2. Keep a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you.
3. Always use the three second rule. Pick a spot on the roadway ahead and when the vehicle ahead of you passes that spot, begin counting “one second, two seconds, three seconds”. If you cannot count three seconds before you reach that spot, you are following too closely and need to increase your following distance until you are three seconds behind that vehicle. Increase the distance as road conditions deteriorate.
4. “Leave the phone alone” when driving. Talking or texting while driving is a distraction. Even hands free phones should be avoided because it is the distraction for the brain that is the problem, not the distraction of the hand.
5. When making a left turn into a multi-lane roadway, enter the closest legal lane. That is usually the lane closest to the yellow line or median. If you want to be in the right lane, establish yourself in the left lane and then make a normal lane change to the right.
6. Always do a shoulder check into your blind spot on the side into which you wish to turn before making a lane change.
7. If you have to turn on your wipers, turn on your headlights and turn off your cruise control. In wet conditions visibility and road conditions usually deteriorate.
8. Always scan the roadway ahead and anticipate the actions of others. Be prepared to react should they take the right of way from you.
9. Scan your rear view mirrors frequently (five to eight seconds) to be aware of what is around you.
10. Do regular checks of your vehicle to ensure its safety and proper operation. Your signal and brake lights and your horn are key tools for communicating with other drivers.
11. Prepare for winter driving by preparing your vehicle. Always use winter tires. All-season tires are ineffective in our climate. Replace worn windshield wipers, top up washer fluids, check your brake and exhaust systems.
12. Ensure your windows, car roof and lights are free of snow before driving in winter.
13. Always check the weather before starting a trip. If bad weather is forecast, change the timing of your trip.
14. Ensure someone knows your travel plans including your travel route and your departure and arrival times.
15. When travelling in winter, have a survival kit in your vehicle including warm clothing, food and water.
16. A fully charged cell phone can be a life saver if you encounter trouble on the roadway.
17. Remember, fatigue is as serious an impairment as alcohol or drugs. If you feel tired when driving, pull off the road and rest until you feel more alert.
18. Statistics show that for new drivers, road incidents and collisions increase as the number of passengers in the vehicle increases. Insist that new drivers drive with a minimal number of passengers.
19. As you age, consider how your physical and cognitive abilities change and adjust your driving to accommodate these changes.
20. Avoid rush hour traffic. Select travel times when traffic conditions are easier to navigate.
21. Left hand turns are a risky maneuver. Plan your route to minimize the need to make left hand turns in areas uncontrolled by a left turn traffic light.
22. Never drive when emotionally upset or when you are in poor health. Check all medications before operating any mechanical equipment.
23. Always use your seat belt. Seat belts prevent you from moving around the inside of your vehicle and becoming a human projectile. They also keep you inside the vehicle, where you are safest in a collision.