9 tips to help keep drivers safe in Toronto this summer

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The Pan American Games are the world’s third largest international multi-sports Games – and with the event dominating major pockets of the Greater Toronto Area, you certainly don’t want to have any car issues while out and about this summer.

Here are 9 tips to keep in mind to stay safe on the Toronto roads this summer.

1. Don’t drink and drive. Ever. Assign a designated driver, take a cab or use a professional driving service (i.e., Keys to Us, The DD Service). Factor those costs into your entertainment budget for the evening. When you drink and drive, you put yourself, loved ones and other motorists at risk; not to mention the huge financial costs associated with a DUI conviction.

2. Avoid distractions. That means NO texting or phone calls without the aid of a hands-free device. Distracted driving is now the most common cause of traffic accidents in Ontario and fines for this offence recently increased to between $300 and $1,000, plus three demerit points.

3. Don’t drive with a suspended license. It’s estimated that 70% of those who lose their driver’s license continue to drive, posing a threat to themselves, their families and other motorists. Committing this offence can result in financial penalties, further license suspension, seizure of your vehicle and increased insurance costs.

4. Avoid reckless driving. Traffic congestion and driver impatience can lead to dangerous driving habits, such as speeding, improper lane changes or following too closely. Slow down, take your time and put safety first.

5. Stay alert. A U.S. study by the National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of polled drivers admit to driving a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year. Sleep deprivation and fatigue make it more likely that lapses in attention will occur behind the wheel, so make sure that you’re properly rested before driving long distances. For long trips, take breaks every few hours and share driving responsibilities with others.

6. Maintain your vehicle. Tires, braking systems and wiper blades can cause traffic accidents if they are worn out. If you suspect that a part is deficient or needs replacing, address it today. Don’t procrastinate.

7. Be prepared. If you don’t have a roadside assistance program, consider becoming a member of an automobile association that offers roadside assistance. Plus, pack an emergency kit in your trunk (first-aid kit, bottled water, blanket, flashlight, extra clothing).

8. Buckle up. Not wearing a seatbelt (in a car) or helmet (on a motorcycle) are among the most common causes of fatalities on our roads, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.

9. Gas up. Fill your tank a day or so before you leave town. This avoids lineups at the pumps and the spike in gas prices that occurs on long weekends.

A car accident can have far reaching implications including severe injuries or even death, regardless of the type of accident. When a serious car accident impacts your life, or takes the life of your loved one, contact our lawyers.