With summer approaching, many Canadians will likely be setting out on road trips to see many of the country’s beautiful landscapes.
Whether you are planning a summer road trip or will simply be traveling around Windsor, follow these road safety rules and safe driving tips to help ensure a safe and enjoyable summer that is accident free.
Wear Your Seat Belt
Any time you are in an automobile, you should wear your seat belt, whether you are driving or riding as a passenger.
Evidence shows that seat belts save lives. This is one simple thing you can do to protect yourself in the event of a car accident.
Furthermore, Ontario law requires all drivers and passengers wear a seat belt that is properly adjusted and securely fastened.
Drivers can be fined between $200 and $1,000 if you or anyone in your vehicle under the age of 16 is not wearing a seat belt or properly secured in a child seat. You can also be fined for having a broken seat belt.
Passengers over the age of 16 can also face a fine if an officer notices they are not wearing a seat belt.
Child Safety Restraints
It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that all children are securely fastened in the appropriate child seat for their age and weight.
According to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act:
- Infants should use a rear-facing car seat until they weigh at least 9 kg (20 lb.).
- Children should use a front-facing car seat until they weigh at least 18 kilograms (40 lb.).
- Children under the age of eight who are less than 145 cm (4 feet-9 inches) tall and weigh less than 36 kg (80lb.) should use a booster seat.
Do Not Drive While Distracted
Distracted driving is the leading cause of traffic fatalities in Ontario. In 2016, 65 deaths were attributed to distracted driving, more than speeding and drunk driving.
This is despite the fact that it is illegal to operate hand-held communication and electronic devices while driving in Ontario.
According to Ontario law, distracted driving includes anything that takes a driver’s attention from the road, such as:
- Talking on the phone
- Checking maps
- Adjusting a playlist
Whether you are driving or stopped at a red light, a violation of this law could lead to a $400 fine plus a victim surcharge and court fees and three demerit points. Fines could reach $1,000 if you attempt to fight the ticket.
If your distracted driving endangers others, you could also face a careless driving charge, which includes a fine of up to $2,000 and six demerit points. You could also face six months in jail and a two-year license suspension.
The best ways to avoid distracted driving are to:
- Turn off your phone or put it on silent when you first get into your vehicle
- Set your GPS or navigation before you start driving
- Ask a passenger to handle any calls or text messages
Do Not Drive Under the Influence
It is a crime in Ontario to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even one drink can significantly affect your vision, reflexes and attention, making it extremely difficult to react to things while driving.
The penalties for impaired driving are stiff, as Ontario has some of the toughest impaired driving laws in North America.
Novice drivers and those under the age of 21 cannot have any alcohol in their blood. Those who are caught with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above zero will have their driver’s license suspended for 24 hours. If convicted, their license will be suspended for 30 days and they will receive a $60 to $500 fine.
If your BAC is between 0.05 and the legal limit of 0.08 – also known as the warn range – you could face a three-day license suspension and $198 penalty for a first offense.
A second offense within five years will lead to a seven-day license suspension, a $198 penalty and a mandatory education program.
If your BAC is 0.08 or higher and you are convicted of drunk driving for the first time, you will face a $1,000 fine, a one-year license suspension, a one-year minimum requirement of using an ignition interlock device, and a mandatory education or treatment program.
How to Avoid Drunk Driving
You can avoid impaired driving by:
- Planning ahead to make sure you have a way home
- Identifying a designated driver who will stay sober
- Taking a cab or other form of transportation
- Asking a friend to drive you home if he or she has not been drinking
Follow All Traffic Laws
When on the road, it is every driver’s responsibility to ensure the safety of others and do everything they can to prevent a car accident. Because of this, you should always obey the rules of the road as outlined in the Highway Traffic Act.
Some of the many rules outlined in the Act include:
Follow the Speed Limit
Speeding is a risky driving behaviour that increases the potential for a car accident because there is:
- Greater opportunity to loss control of your vehicle
- Less distance for stopping if a hazard appears in the road
- Increased crash severity
Because of this, it is important that you follow the posted speed limit at all times. You should always drive at a speed that is appropriate for the conditions of the road and the weather that will allow you to stop safely.
Yield the Right of Way
When driving, you will encounter situations where you will have to yield the right of way to other drivers or pedestrians. To avoid a collision, you should know which driver has the right of way and can move first:
- Intersection without signals or signs: Yield to the vehicle approaching from the right.
- Intersection with stop signs on all corners: Yield to the first vehicle to come to a complete stop. If two vehicles stop at the same time, the vehicle on the left should yield to the vehicle on the right.
- Turning at an intersection: If you are turning left, you must yield to any approaching traffic, including pedestrians. If you are turning right, you must yield to pedestrians.
- Entering a road from a private driveway: Yield to vehicles on the road.
- Marked pedestrian crosswalks: Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Additional Safe Driving Tips
In addition to these many road rules, drivers should follow these safe driving tips:
- Do not drive while drowsy
- Always use your turn signals
- Be attentive and drive responsibly
- Drive defensively by expecting other drivers to make a mistake and preparing ahead of time
- Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and others on the road
- Do a safety check of your vehicle before hitting the road
- Plan your trip ahead of time
- Take your time and do not rush
Windsor Car Accident Lawyers Ready to Help
Unfortunately, no matter how safe of a driver you are, others on the road will not always practice safety first. In the event that you are injured in a car accident with a negligent driver, you should contact our experienced Windsor car accident lawyers as soon as possible. You may have legal options.
Through a free consultation, we can help you determine if you have a case and are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
We have decades of experience helping accident victims fight for the justice and compensation they deserve.
Call (866) 320-4770 for a free, no obligation consultation.