It only takes a second to be distracted.
#UnplugAndDrive is the theme behind CAA’s new youth-based video campaign. And the message is clear: if you’re driving, put your phone away. Gen Z is a socially conscious generation and almost all of them know that distracted driving is wrong, yet 1 in 6 young Canadians still have admitted to driving distracted.
People don’t think they’re distracted drivers because they aren’t “texting”. But today, distracted driving is so much more than sending a text. Music apps, maps, messaging apps and social media are all frequently used while driving and pose the same threat as calling or texting.
Here are a few surprising distracted driving statistics:
- Over a quarter of young Canadians aged 18-24 years old said they saw an increase in people using their phone while driving in 2020. (CAA polling, 2020)
- 47% of Canadians admitted that they have typed out or used the voice-memo feature to send a message while driving. (CAA, 2020)
- If a driver texts, they’re 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near collision. (Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 2019)
- Canadians say that texting while driving is one of the biggest threats to their personal safety on the road. (CAA, 2018)
Let’s eliminate distracted driving. Learn more
Watch the videos below.
Safe Driving Tips
Are You Ready for Winter? Let CAA Help Winterize Your Ride
The colder temperatures, a sprinkling of snow, and ice remind us that winter has arrived. To help us survive winter, and winterize our ride, CAA has some important safety reminders.
Vehicles: Winter Safety Check List
- Winter tires: A definite recommendation by CAA. The different rubber compound in winter tires allows for better traction and control. When choosing winter tires, consider the tread design, type of rubber, size, and conditions of use.
- Check your tire pressure: The right pressure is important for traction and fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure regularly. Improper inflation can not only be dangerous but can also cause increased tire wear resulting in added costs for replacement tires.
- Battery: The battery is your vehicle’s lifeline. Extreme weather weakens the battery so check it often and have it charged if necessary.
- Block heater and cord: Make sure the cord is not frayed and is in good working condition. Always plugin when the temperature falls below -15°C.
- Check your vehicle fluids: This includes antifreeze, brake fluid, and the window washer fluid which are all vital to safe winter travel.
- Defrost your windows before you drive: Take the time to remove ice and snow from your vehicle.
- Brakes: Have your brakes inspected thoroughly and service them if necessary. This will help with better braking power especially on icy, snow covered roads.
- Roadside safety kit: Pack extra winter gear including mitts, toques, and footwear. Take along a mobile phone with charger (for emergency use only), non-perishable food, water, a shovel, window ice scraper, snow brush, and booster cables. Remember, roadside safety kits are available at CAA Stores.
- Fuel: Keep a full tank or at minimum a half tank of fuel. This will help reduce moisture in the gas tank plus it adds weight to your vehicle.
Drivers: Winter Safety Check List
- Check weather and road conditions before you travel: Allow extra time to reach your destination safely. Be prepared to reduce your speed and drive with caution.
- Slow to 60 km/h on Saskatchewan highways: For working tow truck operators, first responders and highway construction workers.
- Watch for snowplows: Trucks now have amber flashing lights for increased visibility. Remember to slow down, stay back, and stay safe.
- Signal lights: Every vehicle has them. Use them in advance to communicate your driving intentions to others on the road.
- See and be seen: In many vehicles, the daytime running lights (DRL) are always on. But this doesn’t mean that the rear lighting is on which results in ‘Phantom Vehicles’ that are virtually invisible from behind because their rear lights aren’t on. Turn your vehicle headlights and taillights on in harsh weather and in low visibility.
- Check the Highway Hotline: For updates on winter road conditions.
For vehicle winter inspection, visit the CAA Car Care Centre at Regina Battery Depot or any facility that is part of CAA’s Approved Auto Repair Service facility (ARRS) network across the province. Roadside safety kits are available at all CAA Stores.
Slow Down Move Over
Promoting safe driving near tow trucks and first responder vehicles.
If you’ve ever had to pull over on a Saskatchewan roadway, you know how nerve-wracking it can be. Even if you’re far over on the shoulder—even if your hazard lights are on—other vehicles often whip past, mere metres from where you stand. In other words, you’re vulnerable.
So, too, is the tow truck operator who responds to your call for roadside assistance.
“We really depend on the motoring public to help keep us safe—by slowing to 60 km/h on highways—when passing us at work,” says Brad Stratychuk, president of the Roadside Responders Association of Saskatchewan. “It really is a matter of life and death.”
Across Canada, there are more than 7,500 tow truck operators employed by or contracted to provincial CAA clubs. Each one receives ongoing training, plus equipment like tall reflective pylons and high-visibility clothing, to ensure that they—and the members they’re helping—stay as safe as possible at the roadside.
Even then, some motorists don’t heed the warnings. Tragically, a tow truck operator near Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, was struck and killed in 2017 while working during a blizzard. In November 2019, an Oshawa tow truck driver was killed while assisting a motorist on a highway near Durham, Ontario.
In Saskatchewan, you must slow to 60 km/h when passing emergency and service vehicles parked at the side of the road with their lights flashing. This includes tow trucks, tire service vehicles, police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, highway workers and snowplows. Drivers who don’t follow the law could face fines of $170 or higher, based on speed.
“Tow truck operators and first responders help others,” says Joe Hargrave, the Minister Responsible for SGI. “When you see those flashing lights on the roadside, think about the people who might be standing there too; slow down and move over to keep them safe.”
The addition of blue lights to tow trucks has increased visibility on Saskatchewan highways. “We worked with key safety stakeholders to lobby the Government of Saskatchewan for new legislation allowing tow trucks to display blue lights in addition to amber lights when assisting motorists,” says Scott McIntyre, CAA Saskatchewan’s vice-president of automotive services. In April 2017, Saskatchewan became the first province to permit this additional safety precaution.
While the exact number of collisions involving tow trucks is unknown, data from CAA National indicate that each year in North America, dozens of tow operators are killed while doing their jobs. Each and
every one of these deaths is entirely preventable: Slow down, move over!
May 11, 2021 is Slow Down Move Over Day!
CAA clubs across the country named the second Tuesday in May as national “Slow Down Move Over Day.” The special day raises awareness of laws in place to protect tow truck operators, first responders such as law enforcement and paramedics and highway workers. Stay tuned for further details!
Once upon a time, a dim instrument panel reminded motorists that their headlights weren’t engaged. But in most new vehicles, the panel is backlit anytime the engine is running. This leads some motorists to assume their daytime running lights (DRL) are also on. Problem is, in many vehicles, DRL doesn’t include rear illumination. “Before sunrise, after sunset and in bad weather, you get what are known as phantom vehicles,” says Christine Niemczyk, CAA Saskatchewan’s director of corporate communications and public relations. These are cars that are virtually invisible from behind because their rear lights aren’t on. “It’s a pet peeve for many drivers. And it’s a safety issue due to the visibility risks.” Transport Canada has acknowledged it receives a high number of concerned letters about phantom vehicles—and is now taking steps to address those concerns. As of 2021, all new cars sold in Canada will be required to be more visible in low-light conditions, by having one of three features:
- Daytime running lights and taillights that turn on when the instrument panel is illuminated, and the vehicle is in operation;
- Headlights, taillights, and side marker lights that automatically turn on in low-light conditions;
- An instrument panel that remains dark until the driver manually turns on all the lights.
This isn’t the first time Canada has led the way with regard to vehicle lighting standards. In 1989, we were the first country to require automatic DRL on all new vehicles, buoyed by research showing that it could reduce crash incidence by up to 15 percent during the day.
The irony is that DRL—designed to improve visibility—can inadvertently put drivers at risk, if they believe their full lighting system is engaged by default. “It also impacts motorists following you. If they can’t see your taillights, it decreases their reaction time to brake or avoid a rear-end collision,” Niemczyk says. To increase awareness about phantom vehicles, CAA partnered with Transport Canada on the See and Be Seen campaign, launched in 2018. So how can you ensure your car is lit? Many vehicles have an “auto” option whereby sensors gauge ambient light to switch between DRL and a fully engaged headlight system; just make sure that setting is on. Look for an “A,” “Auto” or the DRL symbol on your light dial. For cars lacking an automatic option, keeping your headlights on when driving is the safest bet.
CAA supports keeping seniors driving for as long as safely possible through a variety of initiatives:
- The Canadian Automobile Association used decades of experience in road safety, along with expert assistance from the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, to design a toolkit for seniors and their loved ones. Use the toolkit to assess fitness to drive under different conditions, stay safe behind the wheel, maintain driving confidence as you age, and take concrete steps to modify driving habits if needed. Learn More
- CarFit, an educational program for senior drivers, provides a quick, yet comprehensive review of how well you and your vehicle work together. Personal mobility is critical for healthy aging, but ill-fitting vehicles can make it uncomfortable and unsafe to drive. Today’s vehicles have many features that offer enhanced restraints and protection, yet many drivers are unaware of those features or how to use them properly. CarFit helps to identify how the fit of your vehicle can affect your driving and how minor adjustments and adaptations can assist your changing needs. CarFit is free of charge for CAA members and the public. Learn more
- 55 Alive Mature Drivers Program offered by Saskatchewan Safety Council. Contact the Saskatchewan Safety Council for more information.
CAA recognizes the critical requirement for young drivers to start their driving careers off on the right foot. CAA offers new drivers and their parents, useful reminders, tips, questions and do’s and don’ts that parents and new drivers can refer to throughout the learning-to-drive process. Learn More