November 28, 2023
Your Family Isn’t Built for a Crash
Every time we get behind the wheel, we’re not just responsible for our own lives but also the lives of our loved ones. The road can be an unpredictable place, and collisions happen at a rate high enough that our family’s safety needs to be top of mind at every moment.
December 1 – 7 is National Safe Driving Week and the Canada Safety Council, in partnership with the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada, are reminding you that your family isn’t built for a crash.
“The foundation of driving safety lies in recognizing the significance of our actions. Our families represent more than just a collection of individuals; they constitute a network of love, support and cherished moments,” said Gareth Jones, President and CEO of the Canada Safety Council. “Every choice we make while on the road directly affects their well being.”
According to Transport Canada’s 2021 Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics, the most recent year for which this data is available, there were 1,768 motor vehicle fatalities across Canada. This represents an increase of 1.3% over the 2020 figures, which saw roughly 20 fewer fatalities.
With Transport Canada estimating approximately 20 per cent of road deaths being partially or wholly attributable to distraction, this calculates out to roughly 353 road fatalities caused by driver inattentiveness in the country in 2021.
Distracted driving is a well-established topic in the sphere of driver safety, of course. It is defined as any action that takes the driver’s attention away from the road, causing them to focus their attention elsewhere.
“It’s easy to get distracted when your family is in the car,” said Peter Braid, IBAC CEO. “That’s why insurance brokers are partnering with the Canada Safety Council to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and encourage parents to put family safety first. The stakes are too high, and no distraction is worth the risk.”
Tips to Keep the Family Safe
To combat the hidden risks of distracted driving, here are some crucial steps we can take as everyday Canadians:
- Stay focused on the road. Driving is a task that always requires full attention, so don’t overestimate your ability to multitask. Put away your phone, avoid eating behind the wheel, avoid difficult or distracting conversations, and keep your focus where it belongs: on the road.
- Use seatbelts. Always wear your seatbelt, and ensure all passengers do the same. Seatbelts save lives. Transport Canada reports that only five per cent of Canadians do not wear their seatbelts, however they are disproportionately represented in driver fatalities, to the tune of 28.6% in 2021.
- Respect speed limits. Speed limits are designed to keep road speeds manageable and to limit the impact in case of collision. Slow down and obey the limits in all conditions, adjusting for conditions where appropriate. Limits represent maximum speeds, not minimums.
- Maintain your vehicle. Regular maintenance checks are of vital importance. Make sure your brakes, tires, lights, and signals are all in good working order. In the event where you may need to make a sudden maneuver, it’s important both to be able to trust your vehicle and to ensure visibility.
- Keep a safe following distance. Maintain a following distance of three seconds or more from the vehicle in front of you. This gives you time to react in case of sudden stops, emergencies, or unpredictable behaviour from other road users.
The dangers of distracted driving cannot be taken lightly. By recognizing the hidden risks and making a conscious effort to prioritize road safety, we can collectively create safer roads for ourselves, our families, and the families that make up our community.