Put Driving Safety First This Labour Day Weekend

By Hayley Vesh
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The unofficial end of the summer is upon us: the Labour Day long weekend. Before school resumes, many Canadians will say goodbye to the sunniest season by celebrating with family and friends — at a cottage, beach, or backyard barbeque. However, as more drivers hit the road, collisions and traffic tickets tend to rise.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) laid more than 8,000 traffic charges during a four-day Labour Day weekend road safety blitz last year. Speeding was the leading offence, with 5,821 offenders.

The OPP also laid the following charges:

Offence Number of charges laid
Not wearing a seat belt 250
Stunt driving 157
Impaired driving 110
Distracted driving 98

While failure to use seat belts is considered a minor ticket, stunt driving and impaired driving are serious tickets and come with criminal convictions. Depending on how fast you are caught speeding, you could end up with a minor, major, or serious ticket and demerit points. Too many demerit points within two years can result in a licence suspension.

Even though demerit points do not directly affect your auto insurance premium, the ticket’s severity can. Risky driving behaviour can quickly turn a fun weekend into a costly one.

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Road safety tips

Here are five road safety tips to consider as you roll into the long weekend:

1. Buckle up

As the driver, you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of your passengers.

Before starting your journey, make sure everyone is wearing their seat belt. You can face a fine between $200 and $1,000 and receive two demerit points if you or anyone under the age of 16 is not wearing a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt will not only spare you a hefty fine, but it can also save your life if you are in a collision.

2. Don’t drive fatigued

According to the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, drowsiness factors into 21% of collisions in Canada. Fatigue can cause drivers to have slower reaction times and decision-making can suffer. Make sure you have ample rest before driving and take breaks every couple of hours.

3. Plan ahead

Check your vehicle to ensure the headlights are working correctly and you have everything you need, including windshield wiper fluid, a road safety kit, and maps. Plan your route and know where you will exit the highway or take rest stops. Being prepared can help you avoid making last-minute driving decisions or missing your turns.

4. Put devices down

Distracted driving is reckless and costly if you’re convicted of the offence. A distracted driving conviction can increase your auto insurance premium by an average of 25%. Put your devices down while you are behind the wheel and keep your eyes on the road.

5. Obey the rules of the road

Always obey the rules of the road and respect others who use it, like emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and cyclists. The law requires drivers to slow down and move over when passing tow trucks or emergency vehicles with their lights flashing.

Help keep the roads safe this Labour Day long weekend by being prepared and driving cautiously. A traffic violation or an at-fault collision will likely increase your car insurance rates and can put you, your passengers, and the lives of others on the road at risk. However, a good driving record and safe driving habits can lower your car insurance premium.