7 Driving Facts to Remember Whenever You’re Behind the Wheel

Driving is something most of us do every day, but that doesn’t mean the act isn’t dangerous. In fact, driving is one of modern society’s riskiest behaviours ― though few motorists actually consider the serious possibilities of their actions while they are behind the wheel.

There is no reason for any Canadian to suffer traffic-related harm. As long as motorists remember these facts and figures about driving in Alberta, everyone will be safer on the road.

1. The Percentage of Traffic Injuries and Fatalities Continues to Increase
Despite the ever-growing number of messages regarding safe driving habits and the futuristic vehicle features designed to keep people safer ― traffic-related injuries and fatalities become more numerous every year. Between 2013 and 2014, fatalities in Alberta increased more than 3 percent, and the number of injuries sustained on the road increased by more than 100 in Edmonton alone. As a driver, you have the power to reverse these rising statistics with safe, smart practices.

2. Young People Are the Most Common Casualties
Drivers between the ages of 15 and 24 have the highest casualty rates of any group, and it isn’t hard to understand why. Younger drivers have less experience on the road, and their reduced skills and knowledge puts them at higher risk for harmful collisions, but it is more often their lack of maturity that places them in dangerous situations that will get them hurt.
Often, young people make poor choices behind the wheel, like checking electronic devices or not enough allowing space between vehicles. Though enforcing smart driving strategies with young drivers is crucial, it is also wise to have a comprehensive auto insurance plan ― because accidents do happen, especially around teens.

3. Most Collisions Occur at Rush Hour on Fridays
When are people most eager to drive dangerously? When the workweek is over and it is time to celebrate. When the clock strikes 5 p.m. on Friday evenings, Alberta drivers seem to forget the need to follow basic traffic laws, like speed limits and turn signals. For the safest commute, motorists might want to put off the weekend until Friday rush hour is over, opting to stay safe at home or in the office for a few extra hours.

4. Rural Areas Are More Dangerous
More collisions occur in urban areas, where there are more cars on the road. However, in and around cities, collisions more often result in minor injuries and property damage. Conversely, in the country ― where speeds are high and staying alert is difficult ― collisions are often fatal. Worse, rural areas are farther from hospitals, which means it takes more time to find medical care for serious injuries. It is crucial that drivers stay awake and aware no matter the scenery outside their windows.

5. Some Driving Behaviours Are More Likely to Cause Harm
Not every driving sin is equal. Studies show that some behaviours more often result in casualty-causing collisions. In particular, speed is the most common factor in the harmfulness of a collision; simply put, the faster the car is going, the more pain it will cause. However, following too closely behind other cars and making foolhardy left turns are also significantly hazardous to the health and well-being of motorists.

6. Impaired Driving Is Illegal for a Reason
Throughout Canada, no driver is legally allowed behind the wheel if he or she has consumed any amount of alcohol (or another impairing substance).
The government imposes harsh penalties on any driver found with any blood alcohol level, ranging from suspension of licence to criminal charges. These extreme measures shouldn’t be surprising, considering that in 2014, a whopping 16 percent of fatal collisions were due to intoxicated drivers.

7. Pedestrians Make Deadly Mistakes, Too
Pedestrians have the right-of-way in most situations, but that doesn’t mean they are always right. About a third of all pedestrians involved in fatal collisions were found to have consumed alcohol, which had impaired their ability to judge traffic conditions. However, more and more frequently pedestrians wander into dangerous situations because they are distracted by electronic devices, like smartphones. Though motorists cannot control how pedestrians behave, they can be alert and ready to react to a straying walker or cyclist.

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