Safe Driving Advice
CAA says speeding is a major safety concern
In a new poll released by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), Canadians are concerned about speeding in our neighbourhoods and on our highways. Read the full news release. Access CAA’s poll data here.
Are you and your vehicle winter ready?
Driving in the winter can cause anxiety and worry with colder temperatures and treacherous road conditions due to snow and ice. CAA’s here to help with our driver and vehicle checklists to help you stay safe on the road. Plus, check out our Survive Winter Guide for more information.
DRIVER SAFETY CHECKLIST
✓ CHECK WEATHER & ROAD CONDITIONS: Be prepared to adjust your driving behaviour to the current weather and road conditions. Reduce your speed and drive with caution. Allow extra time to arrive at your destination. Increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Check the Highway Hotline for updates on winter road conditions.
✓ DEFROST YOUR WINDOWS BEFORE YOU DRIVE: Take the time to remove ice and snow from your vehicle for clear visibility.
✓ #UNPLUGANDDRIVE: Eliminate distractions such as the use of mobile phones, eating, drinking, adjusting entertainment or navigation systems, grooming, long conversations, and smoking. Keep your eyes and mind focused on the task of safe driving.
✓ SLOW DOWN MOVE OVER: Remember, slow down move over for first responders, including tow truck operators, law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters, and construction crews working on Saskatchewan highways. It’s also provincial law to slow to 60 km/h. Know the risks. It’s a matter of life and death.
✓ WATCH FOR SNOWPLOWS: Snowplows have blue and amber flashing lights for increased visibility. Remember to slow down, stay back, and stay safe. Learn about the Snow Zone and how to pass safely, visit the Ministry of Highways website.
✓ STAY CONNECTED: Pack a mobile phone and charger to use in case of emergencies or calling for CAA Roadside Assistance. Ensure that your driver’s license, vehicle insurance, travel insurance, and CAA membership are up to date.
✓ PACK A ROADSIDE SAFETY KIT: Items to include – non-perishable food, a shovel, window ice scraper, snow brush and booster cables. Pack extra winter gear such as mitts, toques, parkas, footwear, and blankets for all passengers. Remember, roadside safety kits are available at all CAA Saskatchewan Stores.
✓ SEE AND BE SEEN: For safety and visibility, your vehicle’s headlights and taillights should be turned on before sunrise, after sunset and in harsh weather and low visibility. Don’t be the driver of a phantom vehicle. Be seen and be ready.
✓ ADVICE FOR DRIVING IN THE COUNTRY: Winter driving can be a challenge at the best of times. On rural roads it’s even trickier: They’re often more exposed to hazards like crossing wildlife and reduced visibility. Read Driving in the Country? CAA’s Got Your Back to learn more.
✓ STUCK IN THE SNOW: Saskatchewan winters include snow, ice, cold weather – and the possibility of your vehicle getting stuck in deep snow. If it does happen, check for any damage that may have been caused, and make sure that your vehicle is safe to continue. For more dos and don’ts, read 6 Things to Do When Your Car is Stuck in the Snow.
✓ STAY SAFE ON THE ROAD: Keep CAA’s advice top-of-mind before taking to the road this winter.
VEHICLE SAFETY LIST
✓ WINTER TIRES: CAA recommends a good set of winter tires as the rubber compound allows for better traction and control. 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.
✓ BRAKES: Have your brakes inspected thoroughly and service them if necessary. This will help with better braking power especially on icy, snow-covered roads.
✓ CHECK YOUR VEHICLE’S BATTERY: Extreme weather weakens the battery, and it may require changing or charging. Traditional vehicle batteries can be checked at any CAA Approved Auto Repair Service.
✓ TOP UP FLUIDS: This includes antifreeze, brake fluid, and window washer fluid which are all vital to safe winter travel. Examine belts for proper belt tension.
✓ 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.
✓ BLOCK HEATER AND CORD: Make sure the block heater cord is not frayed. Always plug in at -15°C.
Slow Down Move Over
CAA Slow Down Move Over is a safety and public awareness initiative in observance of first responders working on our highways, including tow truck operators, police officers, paramedics, fire department crews, construction workers, and highway patrol staff. CAA Saskatchewan designates the second Tuesday in May annually, as Slow Down Move Over to bring attention to this important safety issue.
“Saskatchewan highways are not just highways,” said Randy Schulz, White City Fire Department Chief. “The highways are our work zones that we’ve set up and marked to let motorists know that we’re on the job helping people who are expecting us to help them. Motorists must slow down to help keep us safe and protect us while we’re working. Our fire department team has seen too many dangerous situations and close calls.”
Brad Stratychuk, President of Roadside Responders Association, added, “We’re constantly reminded of the dangers, knowing that in 2017, a tow operator was killed on duty during a blizzard while providing roadside assistance in the Esterhazy area.
“On a daily basis, we’re reminded of the dangers of our profession as first responders working to help motorists in need on Saskatchewan roads,” adds Peter Kreis, vice-president, operations, CAA Saskatchewan. “Motorists must respect tow truck operators, who are working to help keep them safe. At the end of their shifts, they just want to return home to their loved ones.”
It's the law to slow to 60 km/h for all first responders working on Saskatchewan highways. Know the risks. Slow down move over. It’s a matter of life and death.
May 14, 2024, Slow Down Move Over Day
This year’s CAA Slow Down Move Over Day is Tuesday, May 14. However, the entire month of May will be devoted to Slow Down Move Over for continued safety education and awareness for all motorists to help keep our tow truck operators and other first responders safe.
Slow Down Move Over Day will be promoted via social media and produced television commercials that focus on five first responders who share their personal messages about their personal safety on our highways when they’re helping motorists in need. Thank you to our safety partners at RCMP “F” Division Traffic Services, Roadside Responders Association (RRA), Paramedic Services Chiefs of Saskatchewan, White City Fire Department, and CAA Saskatchewan Roadside Assistance.
- 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 reflective pylons and high-visibility clothing.
- In January 2021, a tow truck operator was involved in a serious collision while working on a highway near North Battleford, Saskatchewan. An Oshawa tow truck driver was killed in 2019 while assisting a motorist on a highway near Durham, Ontario. Tragically, a tow truck operator near Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, was struck and killed in 2017 while working during a blizzard.
- CAA Saskatchewan 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. 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 indicates that each year in North America, dozens of tow operators are killed while doing their jobs. Each one of these deaths is entirely preventable: Slow down move over.
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. 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. The motorists following you can’t see your taillights, and it decreases their reaction time to brake or avoid a rear-end collision.
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.
The Government of Canada announced safety legislation that will require all new cars sold in Canada as of 2021 to be more visible in low-light conditions.
This new safety standard will require auto manufacturers do one of the following:
- Have daytime running lights and taillights come on when the vehicle instrument panel is illuminated, and the vehicle is in operation.
- Automatically turn on the headlights, taillights, and side marker lights in low-light conditions; or
- Keep the driver’s instrument panel dark so the driver knows to turn on all the lights.
To increase awareness about phantom vehicles, CAA partnered with Transport Canada on the See and Be Seen campaign. To learn more about phantom vehicles and how to help raise awareness please visit www.tc.gc.ca/SEEandbeSEEN.
Nearly 8 in 10 Canadian drivers (79%) admit to being distracted while driving, according to a CAA poll. And among the most dangerous distractions people name are their own in-vehicle technologies, like a phone, the vehicle console, or voice-activated features.
“Distracted driving is already the largest cause of collisions in Canada, but the reasons behind it are evolving,” said Ian Jack, vice president of public affairs at CAA National. “New technology in vehicles these days can make a ride more convenient, or even safer, but the combination of all that tech together can lead to even more distraction.”
Asked to say what is distracting them these days, Canadians listed in order: eating or drinking, interacting with the vehicle’s console, using voice-activated features, and using their phone.
“It’s impossible to eliminate all distractions,” Jack said. “But to keep yourself and others as safe as possible on the road, CAA urges you to do as much as you can to reduce distractions before you drive. Set the destination, check your safety features, put the phone on do not disturb – these are the kinds of things we can do before we start driving.”
Christine Niemczyk, director, corporate communications & public relations with CAA Saskatchewan added, “As drivers, we are all guilty of multitasking when we’re behind the wheel. We like to drink our coffee, talk with passengers, tend to children, eat a burger or sandwich, find our favourite play list, and check our mobile phones, all while driving. And now with in-vehicle information systems, we have more distractions vying for our attention. These are all kinds of distracted driving – which is anything that takes our eyes and mind off the task of safe driving. It’s important to stay focused, be alert, and keep your eyes on the road.”
Distracted driving contributes to 21% of fatal collisions every year, up from 16% a decade ago (Transport Canada). Staying safe boils down to one thing: stay focused on your driving, and whenever possible deal with distractions before you drive.
CAA’s distracted driving campaign brings home this message. It’s called #BeforeYouDrive and urges drivers to get it all out of the way before leaving. The campaign, featuring a vibrant video and catchy tune, is playing on social channels in Saskatchewan and across Canada.
Watch the videos on the CAA Saskatchewan YouTube page.
CAA’s Top 10 safety tips to avoid distracted driving:
- Set your playlist, podcast, safety features, whatever you can, before you drive.
- Set the GPS and review directions before driving.
- Do not text, use apps, or check social media.
- Stow and secure loose objects.
- Avoid eating and drinking while driving.
- Prepare children with everything they need before driving.
- Allow plenty of travel time.
- Do not groom yourself.
- Always keep two hands on the wheel.
- Keep your eyes on the road.
Common Driving Distractions and How They Affect You. Learn more.
Running Late? What are the Risks of Driving While Feeling Rushed?
If you’re driving a vehicle while running late, you can become very anxious. Every red light and vehicle in front of you can increase your stress. You are inclined to speed, make quick maneuvers, and rush through intersections in hopes of “saving time”. You’re also more likely to send a text message to someone letting them know you will be late. According to Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), driver inattention and distraction is responsible for 21% of all collisions. What can be done in preparation, before our journey begins, to ensure that we are ready to drive while staying distraction and anxiety free? Read Take Control of your Focus: De-stress the Drive.
Source: Saskatchewan Safety Council
The fact is that our population is aging.
While more experience is a good thing, so is awareness that some age-related changes are inevitable. Over the years, our pupils get smaller and can affect our ability to drive safety. Hearing loss can affect our ability to react to our surroundings and diminishing motor skills can affect our reaction time. Those changes don’t have to mean the end of a driving life. Here are some driving resources to help you out.
Senior’s Toolkit: CAA, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) have designed a toolkit for seniors and their loved ones. Use the senior’s 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 Program: CarFit is an educational program for mature drivers where a trained technician and occupational therapist help to identify how the fit of your vehicle can affect your driving. We assist drivers in understanding and applying the built-in safety features of their vehicle and offer education on your vehicle’s enhanced restraints and protection if you are unaware of them. CarFit is free to CAA Members and non-members. Learn more
55 Alive Mature Drivers Program: The 55 Alive Mature Drivers Program is offered by Saskatchewan Safety Council. Contact the Saskatchewan Safety Council for more information.
There’s nothing quite like the freedom that comes with a driver’s licence. It can mean independence and open new possibilities for travel, employment, and education.
But there are responsibilities associated with driving that all drivers should be aware of to help make the roads safer for everyone.
Here are five safety reminders for young drivers:
1. Safety First
Safety is every driver’s main responsibility – the safety of everyone in and around your vehicle: passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Obey the rules of the road and always pay attention to your surroundings. Safe driving behaviour will also help keep your insurance costs down.
You can make a difference even if you’re not in the driver’s seat. As a passenger:
- Do not distract the driver. Instead, offer to be a designated phone user to reduce any distractions to the driver.
- Be vigilant and let the driver know about anything that may compromise safety.
- Never travel with drivers who are impaired or behaving dangerously.
2. Plan Ahead
Cannabis and alcohol may be legal in Canada but driving while under the influence of these and other substances is not. The consequences of impaired driving are harsh and can be deadly. We have information and resources on cannabis to help you and your loved ones stay safe on the road. Learn more
3. Avoid distractions
Music, apps, maps, and social media are all frequently used while driving and pose the same threat as calling or texting. While most Canadians recognize the risks of distracted driving, 1 in 6 Canadians have admitted to driving distracted. Being at the wheel of a vehicle is complex multi-tasking – it challenges you to watch, listen, steer, brake, anticipate, and calculate in real time. Focus your attention on driving. If you need to take your eyes off the road, pull over safely and stop. #UnplugAndDrive
4. Understand the cost of driving
Your expenses will include more than just the vehicle purchase cost. There are licence and registration fees, taxes, and insurance. Use our Driving Costs Calculator to figure out your estimated total driving expenses.
5. Make a deal
If you are sharing a family vehicle, consider making an agreement or deal with your parents. Talk with them about ensuring you can have a safe ride home, without judgement, if you are in a situation where you do not feel safe driving the car home. In return, you retain driving privileges such as using the car on certain nights.
Here’s some additional resources and advice for new drivers. Learn More
Child Passenger Safety
When it comes to travelling with your children, ensuring their safety is your priority. One important aspect of that safety is car seat usage. CAA has been helping parents keep their children safe inside and outside the vehicle for decades. Read more about the Importance of Car Seat Safety.