Back-To-School Driving Safety Tips

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Labour Day is upon us and that means the roads are about to get a little crazier.  While you are stuck looking at the bumper of the car ahead of you, reminiscing of the peaceful mornings on the lake, summer concerts and barbecues, frustrations can run high and lead to hasty driving.

Now that school is back in session, drivers need to be hyper-aware of the extra cars, school buses and bodies, especially children and teenagers, on the roads and sidewalks. Compounding the issue, a survey of over 1,500 Canadians, commissioned by autoTRADER.ca, reveals many Canadian have driving habits that may play a role in causing car-related accidents.

Experts from autoTRADER.ca have some tips to help ensure safer driving during the back to school season.

Give yourself time and proceed with caution

  • 60% of Canadian drivers admit to speeding. Of those, 74% have children.
    • Residents of B.C. are the most likely to speed, with 82% of British Columbians surveyed admitting to feeding their need for speed, followed closely by Ontario (80%)
    • Quebecois are the most cautious when it comes to speed, with only 63% of those surveyed from the province admitting to speeding
    • It’s not surprising that more than 61% of Canadians who admit to speeding have been in a car accident

For everyone’s safety and your own stress, plan to leave a few minutes earlier to get to your final destination safely, eliminating the potential of an accident.

Follow school drop-off guidelines and be aware of what’s going on around busy school zones

Most schools have specific drop-off rules for a reason – to keep kids and drivers safe. Follow them!

Don’t block intersections or driveways and don’t drop kids off across the street, no matter how busy or long a wait it is to get into the drop zone.

If you can find willing neighbours and schoolmates, try carpooling or, if you are walking distance, try walking to school in the early days of September when the weather is still nice and the traffic is at its peak.

Pay attention to the rules of the road – More than 55% of Canadians admitted to disobeying traffic signals

  • Canadians aren’t as humble as they seem – Of the 55% who admitted to disobeying traffic signals, 95% consider themselves to be a good driver!
  • British Columbians were most likely to disobey traffic signals with 60% of British Columbians surveyed committing the offence, while Ontarians were least likely at 52%

Remember don’t pass buses if they are dropping off or unloading kids – but not just buses, also give other parents time to let their kids out in the drop-off zones. And of course be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists at intersections and always yield to pedestrians crossing at a crosswalk or intersection, and obey crossing guards

Keep your eyes on the road and put down your phone

In Ontario, starting September 1, the fines for distracted drivers increased from $200 to up to $1,000 and demerit points. This affects the 13% of Ontarians who admit to texting while driving and the 8% of Ontarians that admit to talking and driving without a handheld device.

  • 15% of people claimed they text while driving and 36% said that they at least sometimes talk on the phone while behind the wheel, with only a quarter of those individuals claiming to use a handheld device
  • While parents are less likely to text while driving (13% compared to the 17% of drivers without kids), everyone is in danger when people are not paying attention to the road

By exercising extra caution during this busy period you can avoid accidents and save lives, injuries and time. Be aware of kids on bikes before making turns, check your mirrors before opening doors and keep your eyes where they belong, on the road – not on your device!

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