7 driving tips for 2018

Being a better driver may not be on your list of New Years resolutions this year, but we think it should be. Think about it: if everyone played a part towards being a better, safer driver, we’d all benefit. Here are some easy tips you can get in the habit of for the new year:

1. Keep your eyes moving

Scan the road and look further down toward the horizon so that you can see what’s happening in the distance to be prepared should anything happen. This comes with practise, and will become second nature once you get the hang of it. It’s also important to check your mirrors about every 5 seconds to stay aware of your surroundings.

2. Invest in blind-spot mirrors

Consider this a better-driver hack. They cost about $10 and can be a big help with things like switching lanes or reverse parking.

3. Take a course

It doesn’t have to be boring, or expensive. Try watching a YouTube video to review some of the basics that may have slipped your mind (we’re looking at you, parallel parking). Consider taking defensive driving or winter driving courses to learn something new!

4. Leave enough space

You’ve heard of this one before, but it’s a good tip that will benefit your driving in many ways. Not only is it safer if you need to stop quickly, it’ll also prevent you from braking prematurely (which is one of the main causes of congestion on the roads).

A good rule to follow is the 2-second rule: a safe following distance between you and the driver ahead of you is two seconds (on highways and other roads). This rule only applies in ideal driving conditions – during the winter months, it’s safer to leave extra space.

5. Familiarize yourself with where you’re driving

Even with your GPS on, sometimes driving in an area you’re not familiar with means having to make quick decisions. Review your directions beforehand so you’re aware of any tricky intersections, or use Google Street View to take note of any landmarks that’ll help you navigate your way.

6. Know when to take a break

January is the time for getting back into a routine, which can definitely take its toll. If you find yourself tired on the daily commute, or even feeling more pressure from the stress of winter driving, it’s okay to take a break! It’s better to pull over safely if you need to clear snow on your windshield that may have built up during the drive, or stop and grab a coffee to wait for conditions to clear up a bit.

7. Download apps that disable your phone

Is your phone tempting you while you drive? There’s an app for that – which could also save you from a fine and demerit points. Some newer car models have systems that read your text messages out loud, and respond with a “call me back later” message. Your phone’s operating system also might disable your phone while your driving, so it could be as simple as an update!

PS: Have “saving money” on your list of resolutions?

Being a better driver will help with that too! Think of it like this:

  • ‎✔ Knowing which traffic violations end up in fines or demerit points (and how they affect your premiums) will help you steer clear of any tickets to pay or increases on your premium.
  • ‎✔ Staying claims-free will also help keep your premiums down.

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