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Defensive Driving is Especially Important in Summertime

With the summer vacation season comes increased traffic, driving annoyances and unsafe practices. According to a recent survey, 95 per cent of all licensed Canadians have strong pet peeves while driving. Drivers using their cell phone while driving top the list, followed closely by tailgating and not indicating lane changes or turns. Twenty-five per cent of Canadian drivers are likely to take some kind of action when annoyed, such as yelling at the offender, deliberately tailgate, or pass the offending offender, then slow down or brake on purpose. Here are some tips on how to practice safe driving behaviours:

· Drive defensively – Drive at a safe speed and leave plenty of distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead. Obey all signs and signals, including speed limits, traffic lights, stop signs and railway crossings

· Don’t text, talk and drive – Put your cell phone away and out of reach. Reduce the temptation by keeping it out of sight, like in the trunk or in a bag, and turn the ringer off.

· Share the road – Motorists need to be cautious of cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Always be on the lookout for and yield to vulnerable road users. Summer also brings increased construction on our roads and highways so be prepared to stop or slow down in construction zones.

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· Avoid road rage – When encountering an aggressive driver, calm yourself down, take deep breaths and don’t let the road enrage you. Do not get angry, gesture or yell back, or reciprocate the high risk driving behaviour.

· Stay alert – Canadians often travel long distances when they go on road trips and this creates a temptation to keep driving for extended periods of time. Ensure you get a good night’s sleep before leaving on a long trip and if you start to get tired, take a break.

· Prepare your vehicle – Before leaving on vacation, have your vehicle checked to ensure everything is working properly. Repair or replace worn parts and check fluid levels and tire pressure.

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