Earlier this week the OPP released a statement to inform the public that 27 people had died on Ontario roads in June alone, and since then, three more people have lost their lives. To date more than 130 people have died in 2015 on OPP patrolled roads. This is an alarming trend as people prepare to hit the roads for summer vacation.
What were the most common driving mistakes that resulted in these collisions and deaths?
SPEEDING IMPAIRED DISTRACTED NO SEAT BELT
Despite how much media coverage brings to light these dangerous behaviours, they are still occurring and causing needless death. Clearly, we need more impactful messaging.
We need to recognize our tendencies towards certain behaviours that do not belong on the road. Are you a ……..
Technology Addict? People get addicted to technology and feel the need to respond quickly to messages. If you are a technology addict, leave your phone in the trunk or a place where you cannot hear it or reach it. Pull over at rest stops to check it and respond.
Speedster? Leave yourself plenty of time to get where you are going so you don’t feel a necessity to speed. Watch out for road construction slow downs.
Partier? Don’t drink and drive or drive high, it is illegal and incredibly reckless. Choose a designated driver or opt to stay over at your destination instead.
More tips ……
New medications. If you are taking new medications see how you react to them before you take a road trip. Ensure they don’t affect your wakefulness, vision or attention to detail.
Communicate respectfully. Make sure to signal your turns and lane changes so other drivers know what to expect from your vehicle. Check your mirrors frequently and keep an eye out for motorcycles.
Respect the airbag. An airbag can deploy at 320km/h (200m/h) which can cause grievous injuries if you are sitting too close. Keep your lap free of objects that can be thrown into you and keep your feet off the dashboard. Children under the age of 12 should sit in the backseat in a proper booster seat or child seat away from the airbags.
You did everything right, but a crash happened anyway. Did you…..?
Pack an emergency preparedness kit. Every car should have a kit with the items you need to deal with due to a breakdown or sudden road closure.
Keep safety within reach. Keep a seatbelt cutter and safety punch within your reach so you can escape your vehicle if necessary. Attach it to your key chain..
Learn first aid. First aid training gives you the skills and confidence to intervene and save someone’s life.
Buckled up and secured loose objects, including pets. It can be fun to let Fido sit in your lap or hang out the window as you drive but if you are involved in a collision a loose pet becomes a projectile that can injure them and other passengers. Other items that can injure if they become air born are groceries, toys, tools and books. Most of these items are better off in the trunk.
Dianne Rende is the Executive Director of St. John Ambulance, Peel Dufferin Branch. As Canada’s leading authority in first aid, St. John Ambulance is dedicated to improving health and safety at work, at home and at play. Dianne can be reached by email at [email protected] or for more information visit www.sja.ca.