Tips on Sharing the Road
Friday, July 1, 2016
There are lots of different drivers and vehicles on the road. No matter what we are driving or where we are headed, we have to share the same road to get there. Here are a few things you can do to help ensure everyone makes it to their destination safely – no matter what kind of wheels they have.
Follow the speed limit
Though the speed limit may not always be as obvious as it is near a school or playground, you want to make sure you’re following it. When you turn or merge onto a different road or highway, scan the shoulder for speed limit signs and adjust your speed accordingly. If your car has cruise control, use it when you’re driving for long stretches on the highway to ensure you maintain the right speed.
Frustration and anger can cloud your judgement and lead you to be impulsive, putting yourself and other vehicles on the road at risk. Keeping a calm, clear head will allow you to better assess the situation and make smarter decisions behind the wheel.
Always make sure you are aware of where you are and the other drivers near you. Before you drive away, put your phone on mute or store it in the glove box so you are not tempted to answer any incoming calls or check messages. Not only is distracted driving dangerous, but it is against the law and could cost you a fine and demerit points.
Know your route
If you are planning on taking a different path than usual, be aware of any changes to the road or traffic conditions in the area. Have a general idea of the time frame it will take to get to your destination. Give yourself a few extra minutes in case you encounter any delays, such as construction or rush hour traffic. If you’re not sure of how to get there, program the address into your smart phone or GPS and use the vocal navigation feature to guide you so you can keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Sharing the road with different types of drivers
We’ve all been in their shoes. Student drivers just need a little extra room and time to navigate the roads safely. They are already nervous about being on the road and inconveniencing other drivers. Help them become better, more confident drivers by leaving them space and exercising patience. Do your best not to startle them by passing quickly or cutting them off. They may panic, hit the brakes and cause an accident.
We all get a little more cautious as we get older. The same advice applies when sharing the road with senior drivers as with student drivers. Their slower speed and less aggressive style is their way of staying comfortable and confident behind the wheel, while avoiding unnecessary risks. Be patient and allow them room.
Farm equipment and large trucks and trailers
It is no rare occurrence to encounter tractors and large trucks on the highway. Keep in mind that a bigger vehicle also has a bigger blind spot. Stay visible to the driver and if you have the opportunity to pass, ensure that you are able to see their entire cab in your rear-view mirror before returning to that lane.
Cyclists are the least-protected drivers on the road. For this reason, they wear reflective clothing and helmets, and make sure their bikes are well equipped for the journey. They usually keep to the right side of the road, even riding on the shoulder. Cyclists must occasionally steer away from the far right to avoid debris or obstacles, so avoid driving too close to them on the left. When passing a cyclist, allow one metre between your vehicle and the cyclist, and 1.5 metres on rural roads. Never honk your horn at a cyclist.
Everyone has a part to play when it comes to being safe on the road. If we all stay alert and look out for one another, we will all have a safe, less stressful commute.
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