Written By: Dale Orlando and Krystal Leonov, Student-at-Law
When talking about dangerous driving, most people automatically think about drinking and driving, texting and driving or driving aggressively. The simple fact is, getting behind the wheel of a car is a risky endeavor however, there are some seemingly minor matters that can also lead to tragic accidents that don’t involve impaired driving.
The following is a list of things to pay attention to in order to keep yourself safe on the road:
1. Checking for other cars manually
It is important to check your blind spot manually and not just with mirrors and sensors. Yes these can help, but mirrors shouldn’t be relied on alone. A quick shoulder check when changing lanes could avoid an accident when a car has moved into your blind spot.
When driving along side another vehicle, be sure you avoid disappearing into their blind spot – drive ahead of them, or drop back behind them and allow enough distance so the other driver can see you properly. Be a courteous driver – avoid lingering in another’s blind spot.
2. Driving with a cracked windshield
Driving with a crack in your windshield can lessen the structural integrity of your car causing major problems if you are ever in a front end collision. An undamaged windshield helps transfer the force of the front end impact down to the frame and will lessen the effect felt inside the car. It will also add structural support to the car’s roof from caving if the vehicle flips over.
Whether it’s a small chip or a large crack resembling a Hollywood stunt car, anything obstructing your field of vision is clearly unsafe and needs to be repaired.
3. Watching the cars in front of you
Watching the traffic at least two cars ahead of you is important. Most people just watch the next car up, but that means you may only have a split second to react. If you keep your eyes farther down the road, you buy yourself valuable time to avoid a crash or pileup.
This can also help avoid unnecessary breaking. When you brake, everyone brakes and the effect is multiplied which can turn the Don Valley Parkway into the Don Valley Parking lot.
4. Using your winter tires year round
Use of winter tires year round can put you at risk in warmer weather. The rubber compound of winter tires is meant to stay soft in the cold weather usually below 7 degrees and is designed to stay supple to -40C. As the temperature rises, the rubber tires get very soft and may disintegrate in some situations. The use of winter tires may also affect the handling of your vehicle and your gas consumption.
5. Failure to keep your headlights clean
If your headlights become opaque, your visibility can decrease, especially at night or in snowy conditions. If you have an older car with plastic lens covers, those covers may have yellowed or faded over the years. The best fix is to buy a headlight polish kit to remove the haze so your lights can shine brightly.
6. Distracted driving
This does not just mean texting. Adjusting the radio, finding a song on your phone, looking at google maps and eating breakfast while worrying you will be late for work, all lends itself to distracted driving. Here are some scary statistics on distracted driving:
- Checking a text for 5 seconds while travelling at 90km/hour is equivalent to travelling the length if a football field blinded
- A fighter pilot has to keep track of 300 items. A driver in rush hour traffic needs to keep track of 3000 items
- Distracted driving has resulted in TWICE as many deaths as impaired driving
- 75% of drivers in Canada admit to driving distracted.
Keep these in mind next time you hit the road. Safety should be everyone’s main concern while driving!
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, please contact the critical injury lawyers at McLeish Orlando LLP for a free consultation.