The Importance of Good Driving Habits
The Importance of Good Driving Habits
A countless number of car accidents occur each day on Quebec roads. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about some sort of highway pile-up, or of a pedestrian being struck by a distracted driver. There must be a way to prevent the risk of automobile accidents. How can we develop habits that promote safer road conditions for drivers and pedestrians alike? Follow EssOr’s helpful advice, and avoid ending up in an emergency room, jail cell…or worse.
Being a good driver in Quebec means more than just obeying speed limits, and traffic lights – it means completely respecting all elements of the road safety code. Whether you’re driving through densely populated city streets, where cyclists and pedestrians are ever-present; or navigating winding country roads, where each unpredictable turn can bring disaster, one must always be ready to react swiftly in the event of an unexpected situation. These, and other, obstacles require drivers to display a considerable amount of patience and attentiveness. Unfortunately, most drivers do not adhere to, or are unaware of, all road rules of conduct, and find themselves as the responsible parties in a very high number of Quebec’s accidents.
Make use of your rear and side-view mirrors, and be aware of blind spots
When switching lanes, taking an exit, or making a turn, it is absolutely crucial for drivers to thoroughly consult their rear and side-view mirrors – especially when highway driving, where cars are coming at you at speeds of 100 km/hour or more. At such high speeds, one wrong move can spell disaster. So be sure the lane is clear, and your blind spots are covered, before you complete any highway maneuver.
Similarly, while driving through busy downtown streets, even though driving speed is much slower, taking these precautions will allow you to be sure there are no pedestrians or cyclists in your desired path – especially when navigating through parking lots, or beside bicycle paths.
Drive slowly – especially through downtown city streets
Speed limits exist for a reason – respect them. While some drivers see posted speed limits as a challenge or annoyance, they are actually put in place for your safety, as well as the safety of the pedestrians and cyclists around you. Additionally, you must remain extremely aware of everything that is happening around you – you are not the only person on the road, so don’t act like you are. This is especially true when driving through a school zone, in particular when children are leaving the building and may run into the street unexpectedly.
Tailgating benefits no one. In fact, it usually incites frustration and distraction. So don’t drive too close to the vehicle in front of you. This will allow you enough time to react should the driver ahead briskly apply their brakes. We suggest keeping a distance of at least 3 metres, especially while city driving.
In addition to developing good driving habits, ensuring that your vehicle is in prime operating condition, before embarking on your journey, is just as important. Here are a few golden rules to abide by:
- Regular brake and alignment inspections are an absolute must. As is making sure your tail lights, signal lights, and head lights are all in proper working order.
- Monitor the status of your tires. If they’re used up, change them – and make sure you’re always aware of their air pressure.
- Inspect your fluid levels, and engine performance. Have you had an oil change recently? Is your windshield washer fluid topped off? Is your battery still in good condition? How about your brake fluid and coolant? Are they where they’re supposed to be?
- Don’t get in your car without equipping yourself with the proper tools to deal with the day’s weather conditions. If it’s sunny, make sure you have sunglasses with you to avoid being blinded by the glare. During cold weather, bring a pair of gloves with you in order to keep your hands warm and avoid letting go of the steering wheel.
- Thoroughly clean your rear and side-view mirrors, as well as the interior and exterior of all your windows.
- Test your windshield wipers so that you can be sure they’ll do the job in the event of rough weather.
The working order of your vehicle can only take you so far. In order to effectively develop good driving habits, the driver’s behavior must be modified to comply with all road safety rules. Compliance with the safety code includes:
- Rested Driving! Driving while fatigued is equivalent to driving while intoxicated, and can result in serious mishaps.
- Wearing your seatbelt.
- Respecting speed limits, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in. A trip to the emergency room or police station will delay you even further.
- Respecting all stop signs, traffic lights, and road signs – they’re there for a reason.
- Being aware of other drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians. You’re sharing the road with others – act accordingly.
- Not drinking and driving – EVER!
- Avoiding being on the road in the event of harsh weather like snow storms or thunder showers.
- During long trips, plan out stops in advance. This will give you a chance to stretch out your legs, as well as ward off fatigue.
Advice for winter months
The harshness of Quebec winters are a major source of stress for most of us residents. Driving thorugh a snow storm is not as simple as some believe and, if proper precautions are not taken, can result in serious injuries. To limit the risks of injury, or death, while driving during our unique winters, make sure you’re ready well in advance! Have your vehicle inspected and grab the bull by its horns.
- Buy brand new winter tires. When we drive through harsh winter conditions equipped with a new set of quality winter tires, our chances of sliding and causing an accident are greatly reduced.
- Assemble an emergency kit – equipped with snow shovel, a warm blanket, and a first aid kit – in case you become trapped in a snow bank. In remote areas, there’s no telling how long it will take for emergency responders to reach you, so it’s best to be prepared. Roadside flares are also a smart inclusion that will alert passing drivers of your distress.
- Be sure to fully charge your cell phone, before you leave, in case your car stalls and you need to call for help.