Do you commute to Toronto from Barrie? Or do you come into Barrie from Innisfil, Newmarket, Orillia or other nearby cities?
We’ve all been there. Commuting day in and day out, hating other drivers and in a hurry to get to work or get home to our families. Whether your commute is 5 minutes or an hour, you know the feeling.
As a result of this regular repetitive two-way journey, there are a number of things we let slide where our driving is concerned. Are you guilty of regular traffic infractions? Do you hog the road instead of driving courteously?
Surely you’ve heard by now that cell phones are not the only distractions police are looking out for on the roads today. If you are eating, playing with the radio, putting on make-up or reading a novel, you are breaking the law.
More and more evidence indicates that multi-tasking is not all it’s cracked up to be anyway; and you won’t be thinking of how much you managed to get done during your commute if you end up in a ditch or rear-ending a fellow traveler.
As Ontarians, we know there are two driving seasons: winter and construction. Highway 400 is no exception.
Quite often, speed limits will be lowered in construction zones for the safety off all sharing the road. Many of us do not adhere to this temporary change and continue on our merry way. It is worth noting that getting caught in these zones can make for a hefty speeding fine – especially if construction workers are present.
We are not out of the woods yet, as far as winter driving is concerned. It has been said time and again, but driving to the conditions should be a no-brainer. If the roads are slick with snow or freezing rain, we should be slowing down. It is amazing the risks people take, possibly because they figure car accidents won’t happen to them.
The next time you’re driving in wintery conditions think of this: single car accidents in bad weather are considered ‘at fault’ when it comes to making claims on your auto insurance. In short, you can’t blame the weather for your mistake. All the more reason to take care on the roads! The last thing any driver wants is a claim to drive up their car insurance premium.
Snow plow drivers are often out in the worst conditions, working for all of us by adding salt or grit to the road and clearing snow out of our way. Passing them or crowding them puts everyone at risk. Be patient and only pass when it is safe for all on the road.
Common Traffic Violations
Becoming a better driver can be simple with a bit of mindfulness – paying attention to detail as we commute in order to arrive safely at our destination. Here are some common violations seen on Barrie roads every day and what we can do about it:
- Move over! If a police vehicle has pulled over another driver or a tow truck is helping some unfortunate soul with a breakdown, give them space. This goes for emergency vehicles as well. Get out of the way to enable them to pass you safely.
- School buses with flashing STOP signs mean everyone stops. Be sure to come to a complete stop both behind such buses and when approaching them in the opposite direction. The whole point here is that you leave space for children entering or exiting the bus to cross the road safely if they need to.
- Obey Crossing Guards. There are fines for ignoring crossing guards, not to mention the jeopardy you put children in as these crossings are in place in school zones. Plus you could face criminal and civil charges if your error in judgement leads to injury or death – not to mention what it will do to your auto insurance. It is always best to remain stopped until the guard has cleared the roadway.
- School Zone 101. Observe the lowered speed limits in school zones and watch out for children of all ages. The extra few seconds you gain from risky manoeuvres will not be worth it if you hit someone.
- Rolling Stops. This happens every day, all the time. Not coming to a complete stop at Stop Signs or while turning right on a Red Light can put those coming through an intersection at risk. It is always best to come to a complete stop BEHIND the line to signal to other drivers that you are not a risk to their safe travel, after all, they have the right of way.
- Left Turn Lunacy. Turning left at busy intersections can bring with it a number of infractions to those of us being inattentive. First off, your wheels should remain straight while you jut out into the intersection to wait for the right moment to turn. If your wheels are turned toward the left and a fellow traveler rear ends you, you could end up being hit by oncoming traffic – why not avoid further damage and injury? Prevention in this case is much better than the cure. Second, we should be careful to avoid cutting into the left turn lane of those facing the direction in which we are turning. Often, we can see the paint missing from this part of the intersection, a fact that speaks volumes to the number of us making that ‘cutting it too close’ mistake regularly. Third, once you turn, remain in the lane you turned into until it is safe to signal and shift over into another lane of your choice [this goes for those of us turning RIGHT as well!].
- Yellow Lights. You must stop here if you can do so safely, otherwise you are to make your way with caution. All too often, people follow very closely to those cars in front of them to make left turns or get through the intersection before the red light appears. It is risky and can annoy others when it means those with a green light have to wait for you to clear the intersection before they can go.
Be kind on the road
There are a few things we can all do to become friendlier while sharing the road with so many other drivers in Southern Ontario.
- Signal! How hard is it to indicate to other drivers that you want to change lanes or turn at the upcoming traffic light? A simple flick of the wrist will do. And yet, many people do not bother with indicating.
- Check your blind spot. While you’re putting on your blinker, why not have a look over your shoulder to avoid a collision before making a move?
- Make eye contact. Simply meeting the eye of other drivers can help clear up misunderstandings of who has the right of way. You could even wave them ahead if you are feeling particularly generous at an intersection.
- In doubt? If you are not sure whether you have the right of way, let the other driver go first. Yield the right of way.
- Be aware of your use of space. Avoid following too closely or cutting people off when changing lanes or turning.
- Funeral Procession Consideration. While such processions still have to obey the rules of the road, it is nice to show them a bit of respect and drive with care. Patience can go a long way in this situation.
Ultimately, we all have a role to play in road safety in our communities and those we drive into for work every day. All of us at Bevan Insurance in Barrie want you be covered when it comes to your auto insurance needs and to prevent premium hikes that can be avoided by more attentive driving.
Why not get in touch to chat about your car insurance needs? Call us at 705-726-3381 [in Barrie] or 1-800-667-9810;
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more and get a FREE QUOTE at https://www.dgbevan.com/personal-insurance/auto-car-insurance/.
Take care out there!