According to a 2019 article by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, “road traffic injuries are estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death globally for all age groups and the leading cause of death for children and young people 5–29 years of age.”
In 2018, the number of motor vehicle fatalities in Canada was over 1,900.
With many people resuming their daily commute, the roads are getting increasingly busier. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) has identified the some of the common causes of vehicle collisions in Canada.
The information below provides some helpful tips on how to keep you safe on the road and minimize the risk of getting into a collision.
The message is simple: if you are under the influence, do not drive. While many may associate impaired driving with only alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs (including cannabis) can also impair your ability to safely operate your motor vehicle and increase the risk of injury (and even death) to you, your passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.
Organizations, such as MADD Canada, report that crashes involving alcohol and drugs are a leading criminal cause of death in Canada. Every day, on average, up to four Canadians are killed or injured in alcohol and drug-related motor vehicle crashes on public roads.
If you plan to drink alcohol or use drugs, plan ahead:
- Assign a designated driver (DD) who will not be consuming any drugs or alcohol
- Spend the night, if possible
- Arrange a taxi, ridesharing (e.g. Uber or Lyft) or friend or family member to drive you home
In many cases, driving while fatigued is similar to driving under the influence. In both cases, they can seriously affect your ability to maintain focus on the road.
In 2011, the CACP studied this area in particular and found that 20% of fatal collisions involve driver fatigue and 60% of Canadian drivers admitted that they occasionally drove while fatigued. Further, 15% admitted that they had fallen asleep while driving during the past year.
The RCMP provides tips to reduce the likelihood you will fall asleep at the wheel:
- Plan ahead to make sure you get enough sleep before you go on a trip
- On long trips, switch drivers every few hours; you shouldn’t be driving to the point of exhaustion
- Don’t schedule trips during your usual wake-up and bed times
- Drive during daylight hours when possible
- Travel with someone who can help keep you alert
- Take a nap before driving
Changing the radio station, putting on make up, eating, texting, or talking on the phone, can all be forms of distracted driving.
According to data from Transport Canada’s National Collision Database, distracted driving contributed to an estimated 21% of fatal collisions and 27% of serious injury collisions in 2016. The Transport Canada website provides the following tips to help prevent distracted driving:
- Never text while driving, even when you are stopped in traffic or at a traffic light
- If you must send or receive a call or text, pull over to a safe location and park your car first
- Avoid using any device that may take your attention away from the task of driving
- This includes changing the settings on your navigation system or browsing the menu on your infotainment system
- Keep your eyes on the road and safely control your vehicle at all times
- Encourage friends and family to drive distraction-free
While these are not the only factors that lead to collisions on the roads, they are among the most common. Follow these tips to help ensure a safe driving experience for all.
Have any tips you would like to share? Put your thought in the comments below.
Disclaimer: This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing specific legal or insurance advice.