Tips to prevent getting into a car accident
Being alert while driving is key. If you do end up hungry or tired while on the road, its best to pull over and fill your “empty tank” by having a snack, or get some shut-eye (where it’s safe and legal to do so, like a highway rest stop or a quiet side street). Taking rest stops are especially important to break up long drives and will help keep you focused on the road.
Load up your playlist, switch your phone to silent and put it away and set the GPS! Make sure your full attention is on the road once you start driving. Remember, texting and driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. You’re
In Ontario, things like eating, drinking, putting on makeup, smoking, reading and reaching for objects are not part the province’s distracted driving law. However, you can still be charged with careless or dangerous driving. Check the laws in your province so you’re aware of the rules for distracted, careless and dangerous driving.
Always use your mirrors and signals
Look into your rear-view and side-view mirror every time you start or stop your car, pass another car, turn, merge, switch lanes, and when you pull over. These mirrors help you to see what’s behind your car and in your blind spot.
When changing lanes, do a traffic check all around you. Divide your attention between watching in front, watching your side mirrors, and checking your blind spot. When there’s enough space for you to change lanes, turn on your signal. Always check your blind spot one more time before starting to move into the other lane.
Turn on your lights
Being able to see what’s ahead of you is just as important as being seen by other drivers. In Canada, all cars come with daytime running lights (much dimmer than headlights) which help with visibility during the day. However, if the conditions are poor during the day (foggy, raining, or snowing heavily) it’s a good idea to turn on your headlights as a safety precaution.
When it starts to get darker, in
Maintain a safe distance and speed
Whenever you’re behind another vehicle, keep a minimum two-second gap of space so you have time to stop safely if the vehicle ahead of you brakes suddenly. To create the gap, pick a marker on the road such as a road sign. When the back of the vehicle ahead of you passes the marker, count “one thousand, one thousand and one.” When your front bumper reaches the marker, stop counting. If you reach the marker before you’ve finished counting, you’re following too closely.
You’ll also want to adjust your speed to changing conditions and observe the road at least 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. You should always follow posted speed limits, especially in residential areas. The faster you’re travelling the less time you have to react, which means damage in an accident will be much, much worse.
Stay on top of car maintenance
Routine maintenance ensures that your car is working as it should be and can prevent unexpected breakdowns and accidents. Depending how often you drive, you should take your car in every six months or every 5,000 to 7,000 km. Regular car maintenance includes oil and filter changes, fluid inspection and top-ups, fuel filter replacement, and tire rotation and brake inspection. But be sure to check with your car manufacturer or mechanic for specific recommendations based on the needs of your car!
Car accidents due to poor maintenance
Making sure your car is in tip top shape could also prevent an accident. If you have worn out brake pads or bald tires you could be putting yourself and others in danger. Ensuring your brakes are working properly and your tires are filled with air and have enough traction is crucial for everyone’s safety. Or even something as simple as getting a headlight replaced could be the difference that decreases your chances of being involved in an accident.
What are 3 steps you should follow if you are involved in a car accident?
Even if you’re a good driver, sometimes accidents happen. Stay calm and take a deep breath. After an accident, your mind is typically racing a mile a minute, so knowing what to do in a stressful situation will help you navigate each step at a time.
1. First step
First, safely pull over (if you can), turn your car off and turn on your hazards (or 4-ways). In Ontario, if anyone is injured or if there’s more than $2,000 worth of damage, you’ll need to call 9-1-1 immediately. The police will arrive as soon as possible. Do not try to move anyone who may appear to be injured as you could cause more harm.
In Ontario, if no one is injured and total damage to all the vehicles involved looks to be less than $2,000, contact a
If you’re in Quebec and you’re injured in a car accident, you must report it to the
2. Record the details of the car accident
If it’s safe to do so, record key details by capturing photos of the scene, the other individual’s car, and their license plate and contact information. If any pedestrians or cyclists were involved, you should take photos of the scene of the accident and get their contact information. You may also want to jot down or record a voice memo of what happened from your perspective. Include details such as:
- Date and time
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Estimated speed
- Description of the accident
After you’ve recorded these details, you might need to call a tow truck. But – keep in mind that
3. Contact your car insurance provider
No matter the severity of the damage, it’s always important to let your car insurance company know that you’ve been in an accident. You’ll want to send them the details of the accident including time, place, date and the other party’s information, so they can determine who is at
Filing an auto claim
When reporting an auto claim, be sure to have these details ready:
- Your policy number – the insurance company needs this when you first call to make your claim
- Police reports
- Correspondence relating to the claimed event
- Names and contacts of any service providers you used to assist you
- Invoices for any out-of-pocket expenses
- Receipts for lost or damaged itemsContact information, namely phone numbers where you can be reached