HALIFAX, July 31, 2014 /CNW/ - The approaching August long weekend will make for more congested streets and highways across the Maritimes. Higher volumes of traffic can lead to increased risks on the roads. All too often during holiday weekends, there are serious collisions and fatalities on the roads that could have been prevented. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) encourages everyone to practise safe driving by putting down their cellphones and avoiding other distractions while behind the wheel.
"Distractions come in many forms," said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC. "Putting away your cell is very important, but there are a number of other dangerous and avoidable distractions to refrain from as well. These include reaching for fallen objects and fiddling with your GPS."
Distracted driving is risky driving. According to a University of Utah study, talking on a cell phone while driving has similar implications to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08.
Dean points out that it is also critical to avoid driving while drowsy. Every year it is estimated that more than 400 Canadians die and thousands are injured as a result of driver fatigue.
"Drivers believe that so-called 'tricks' like drinking coffee, rolling down the window or turning up the volume on the radio will wake them up. This is wrong," explained Dean. "Driving while drowsy is dangerous for everyone on the road. If you feel tired, pull over to a safe location and take a nap. Better yet, ensure that you are well rested before getting behind the wheel."
IBC offers the following tips to help ensure a fun, safe August long weekend.
10 Tips for Avoiding Distractions While Driving
- Eat before driving so you won't be tempted to juggle distracting snacks behind the wheel.
- Pull over and park in a safe location before using a cellphone or other hand-held electronic device.
- Prepare a "driving music" playlist and then press play before you set the car in motion.
- If something falls, leave it. Never reach for an object while driving unless it is impeding your ability to control the car; in that case, pull over and pick it up.
- Set your GPS prior to departure and listen to it, don't look at it.
- Deal with predictable distractions before hitting the road. Check the map, adjust the seat and climate controls, and familiarize yourself with the dashboard controls before taking the car out of park.
- If you are driving with pets, make sure they are safely secured and in the back seat.
- Put aside enough time to complete your grooming before you set out. Never apply makeup, comb your hair or shave while driving.
- Make all necessary wardrobe changes before you enter the car.
- If a situation can't wait – the kids are acting up in the back seat or you need to refer to a map or take an emergency call – pull over somewhere safe to attend to it.
5 Tips for Avoiding Driving While Drowsy
- Make sure you have an ample amount of rest before driving.
- For long road trips, take a break every two hours that allows you to exit the vehicle, stretch your legs and take in some fresh air.
- Do not attempt to fix the drowsy feeling by drinking coffee. While coffee provides a small amount of stimulation, it will make you feel even more tired afterward.
- Do not attempt to keep yourself awake by rolling down the window or turning up the radio. These strategies will not allow you to drive safely for the duration of your trip.
- If feeling drowsy while driving, pull over to a safe location and take a nap.
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is pleased to celebrate 50 years as a valuable resource for insurance information. Since 1964, IBC has been working with governments across Canada to make our communities safer, championing issues that directly affect Canadians and the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry. IBC is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the private P&C insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes and levies to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $48 billion.
If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.
SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada
For further information: To schedule an interview, please contact: Celyeste Power, Manager, Media Relations, 416-362-2031 ext. 4312 (daytime), 647-384-9872 (after hours), [email protected]