This article has been updated from a previous version.
The end of the summer is unofficially upon us: the Labour Day long weekend. Before school resumes, many Canadians will say goodbye to the warmest 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 7,300 traffic charges during the four-day Labour Day weekend road safety blitz last year. Speeding was the leading offence, with 4,877 offenders.
|Offence||Number of charges laid|
|Not wearing a seat belt||259|
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 were 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 tickets severity can. Risky driving behaviour can quickly turn a fun weekend into a costly one.
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. In Ontario, 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
Research shows that drowsiness accounts for 20% of fatal 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 up to 25%. When you are behind the wheel, put your device(s) down 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.
A good driving record and safe driving habits can lower your car insurance premium.
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