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IBC's top 10 tips for a safe summer holiday on the roads

Guthrie Insurance

TORONTO — June 26, 2013 –The cottage and camping season has begun and while many will take to the roads this long weekend to enjoy the outdoors, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) urges motorists to drive safely and consider some important road safety tips before they set out.

The Canadian Safety Council says that more fatalities occur on Canadian roads during the summer months than at any other time of year. The Canada Safety Council also estimates that 85 per cent of collisions are preventable.

"Higher traffic volumes on any given day bring a degree of increased risk on the roads. It's important to put safety first and drive defensively all year round," says Ralph Palumbo, Vice President, Ontario, IBC. "As you and your family head out to cottage country, the campground or other vacation destinations, take a few minutes to go over a few simple road safety tips that could help save you from a collision."

Here are some road safety tips to keep in mind this summer:

Never drink and drive, ensure you always have a designated driver. Impaired driving is a serious danger to public safety. Alcohol and drugs reduce a driver's reaction time and attention to the road.

Avoid driver distractions. Distracted drivers can be just as impaired as drunk drivers.

Follow the regulations in your province and ensure proper use of seat belts, child car seats and booster seats at all times.

Obey the rules of the road, respect posted speed limits, the rights of other drivers and drive according to road conditions.

If you're experiencing driver fatigue pull off the road to a safe spot and have a nap as driving while drowsy can be just as fatal as impaired driving.

Share the road. Be cautious of cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Always be on the lookout for and yield to vulnerable road users, even if they don't have the right-of-way.

Night driving doesn't have to be intimidating. If you drive carefully and use your headlights properly, reaching your destination shouldn't be a problem.

Have your vehicle checked to make sure everything is working properly. Repair or replace worn parts, check fluid levels and tire pressure. Make sure all lights work, including signal lights.

Before you tow a trailer or haul a load, make sure your vehicle is properly equipped for the job.

Check your owner's manual or if in doubt contact your vehicle dealer. Check that your rear view mirrors give a clear view of the road behind

Upon seeing a wild animal on or near the road, brake firmly, but don't swerve. Sound your horn in a series of short bursts to frighten the animal away.

(Sources: Insurance Bureau of Canada and Canada Safety Council)

Editors note: I know, I know, most of you have probably heard information like this many times before and hopefully it has become ingrained in your driving habits. So, especially for those "newer" drivers, please heed these cautions and take driving seriously.

I would also add one more tip to the above.

Tip # 11 - Don't do anything STUPID! Ever watch one of those "stupid home video" shows? Whether for the thrill or just because they are plain "stupid" (one in the same?), people continue to do some very dumb and dangerous things! The list is endless but some of the things I have seen just in the past few years on Ontario roads -

- Packing the open box of a pick up truck with your buddies for a fun-filled drive down the back-roads.
- Speaking of pick-up trucks, don't leave your dog back there...duh. A sudden stop, or if he jumps out will end up with severe injuries or death possibly along with the people in the car behind.
- Filling your car or "toys" with gasoline? Don't smoke or be near any source of ignition.
- Slow down. Your campsite or cottage is not going anywhere.
- High beams - remember to dim them. Ever been in front of someone even during the day with their high beams on? Extremely aggravating.
- Sure it's hot but leaving your car running with AC on while you dash in for a coffee is an open invitation (temptation) to theft, possibly for some young person who has just been helped to start a life of crime.
- Trucks, especially the large transport type are dangerous. Keep away! Transport truck too close behind you? Move over. Get out of their way! Sure, if you have to stop and he can't, he's at fault but you may not be around to find out as your car will likely get squished. Don't mess with transport trucks and give them lots of room!
- And...one of the most stupid things I have ever heard of - shooting fireworks from a vehicle. A defining moment in the realms of human stupidity.

The list of stupid things that people do is probably endless and I'm sure you have witnessed others. Please just exercise good judgement, common sense and safety in all of your driving and automobile related habits and have a fun, safe holiday long weekend!

Ryan Guthrie
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