It’s easy to lose yourself in the excitement of driving when the sun is shining, but as always, being careless on the road can lead to real trouble. The team at Nicol Insurance wants you to have a safe driving season, so here are some important points to keep in mind.
1) Distracted Driving Is No Joke
The Ontario government has made big changes to distracted driving laws recently, in order to combat the rise of related injuries and deaths. It’s important to know what behaviors to avoid, not just because the penalties are steeper, but because it can save lives. Even a first-time distracted driving offense can result in a $1000 fine, a 3-days driver’s license suspension and a substantial increase to your annual insurance premium.
So, what exactly counts as distracted driving? Simply put, anything that takes your attention from the road is an offense. That means no eating, reading, or using your GPS or phone while the motor is running. Even checking messages while stopped at a red light counts as distracted driving and can result in serious consequences. You may think that your little bad driving habits won’t hurt anyone; but the police can’t take chances when there are lives at stake. Once you start the engine, driving safely needs to be the only thing you focus on.
2) The Roads are Still Rough
After a winter of white-knuckle driving, it can be easy to get careless once the roads have cleared. Just don’t forget that our streets have taken a lot of wear and tear from snow, ice and salt in the past few months. Melting snow and spring rain can seep into cracks, wearing down pavement and widening pot holes. It’s important to keep your guard up because you never know what condition the roads will be in just ahead of you.
3) Take Extra Care Driving at Night
Nicer weather doesn’t just mean more cars on the road; it’s also a time when all of nature has woken up from hibernation to explore. Be ready for a lot more animal activity, especially at night. Nocturnal creatures like raccoons, rabbits, deer, moose, wolves and bears could be just ahead of the reach of your headlamps. Take your time, watch your speed, and stay focused on the road to avoid an unfortunate incident. Don’t forget, vehicle claims from hitting an animal are not “fault-free”; your deductible will still apply, and your rates may increase afterwards.
4) Share the Road
You’re guaranteed to see an increase in children, bicycles, skateboards and scooters on the road when the weather is nice, so keep an eye out. Always watch for cyclists, drive slowly and give them plenty of space. Cyclists don’t always signal their next move, so the responsibility is on you to pay attention to their whereabouts. When driving through residential areas or near parks, slow down and watch for elderly pedestrians, children or pets out walking or playing in the street. Keep your focus on safety.
We aren’t trying to scare you. So long as you play it safe, there’s still a lot of fun to be had with your summer driving. Take your time, pay attention to the road, and keep an eye out for any surprises. If you ever have any questions about what your auto policy covers, or what to do in an emergency situation, Nicol Insurance is here to help guide you. Give us a call today and we’ll help anyway we can.