Driver Safety

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Safe Driving Tips

Here are some important tips to help keep drivers and passengers safe.

Driver Safety Checklist

  • BEFORE YOU DRIVE: Get your passengers settled in. Set up your entertainment and/or navigation systems. If you’re travelling alone, connect your mobile phone on your vehicle’s Bluetooth and pull over and park when you take a call. If you’re travelling with passengers, ask them to respond to texts and calls and monitor your social media and navigation systems. Don’t apply makeup and avoid personal grooming, playing loud music, and long conversations with passengers while driving. Keep your eyes and mind focused on the task of safe driving.
  • BE PREPARED: Ensure that your driver’s licence, vehicle insurance, travel insurance, and CAA membership are up to date.
  • SECURE EVERYONE SAFELY: Properly install children’s car and booster seats. All passengers including the driver must wear seatbelts.
  • STAY CONNECTED: Carry a fully charged mobile phone and a charger should you need to call for help. CAA Roadside Assistance is available 24/7 for Members by calling 1-800-222-4357 or use the CAA mobile app. 
  • PACK A ROADSIDE SAFETY KIT: Your roadside kit should include a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, tire pressure gauge, pliers, adjustable wrench, and a blanket. Make your own kit or purchase one at a CAA Store. Add bottled water and non-perishable food.
  • SEE AND BE SEEN: For safety and visibility, your vehicle’s headlights and taillights should be turned on before sunrise, after sunset and in low visibility. Don’t be the driver of a phantom vehicle. Learn more
  • SLOW DOWN MOVE OVER: It’s the law to slow to 60 km/h for first responders, including tow truck operators, law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters, and construction crews working on Saskatchewan highways. Help them stay safe and arrive home at the end of their shift. Know the risks. It’s a matter of life and death.

Vehicle Safety Checklist

  • 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. Consult the owner’s manual for details.
  • MONITOR THE OIL: Wait until your car has been off for about 10 minutes. Pull out the dipstick, clean it off with a paper towel, and then reinsert it back into the cradle. After a few seconds pull it back out. The oil level should fall between the two markings or holes. It should appear light brown and thick.
  • CHECK YOUR LIGHTS: Walk around the vehicle and check to ensure that the front, tail, and reverse lights are working, along with the turn signals. Check the high beams, too, and fog lights if your vehicle has them. Clean the headlights and taillights for maximum brightness.
  • TOP UP FLUIDS: This includes brake fluid and window washer fluid. Examine belts for proper belt tension.
  • FUEL-EFFICIENCY TIPS: You could save hundreds of dollars at the pump each year, lengthen the life of your vehicle by preventing unnecessary wear on your vehicle, and help save the environment by following CAA’s easy fuel-efficient driving tips. Learn more
  • DID YOU HEAR SOMETHING? A major vehicle problem is often preceded by a noise, like a squeak or bang. If you hear something like that, report it to your mechanic immediately. And if you notice an unusual smell, talk with your technician. A vehicle check up may be required. Service your vehicle with any required maintenance at your local garage, at any Approved Auto Repair Service (AARS), or at the CAA Car Care Centre at Regina Battery Depot

Trailer Safety Checklist: Five things you need to know before you tow

  • THE RIGHT COMBO: All vehicles are rated to tow up to a certain weight, but more power doesn’t always mean better towing. Aerodynamic camping trailers and boats cut through the air better than boxy designs, which puts less strain on the tow vehicle.
  • STABILITY MATTERS: A good hitch setup puts the ball close to the rear of the tow vehicle. In general, the further it is from the rear axle, the less stable the combination will be as the trailer exerts more side-to-side leverage.
  • WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION: The configuration of the ball mount and hitch also impacts the effectiveness of a weight distribution system, which is designed to transfer weight from the trailer to the vehicle axles.
  • TRAILER MAINTENANCE: Ensure the trailer itself is in good shape before you leave. Tires should be correctly inflated on both the tow vehicle and trailer. Check the trailer’s brakes, too.
  • TOWING A CAR: If you plan to tow a vehicle behind your RV, first check that the car is suitable for flat towing. Always use the correct baseplate kit for the vehicle to secure it to the tow bar. Never back up when the car being towed is connected because it’s surprisingly easy to bend or damage the tow bar.

Source: Trailer Talk, CAA Saskatchewan Magazine, Summer 2022.

Slow Down Move Over

CAA Slow Down Move Over is a national day of safety in observance and recognition of first responders working on our highways, including tow truck operators, police officers, paramedics, fire department crews, construction workers, and highway patrol staff. CAA Clubs across Canada have designated 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 on Saskatchewan roads,” adds Scott McIntyre, vice-president, automotive services, 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.

May 2022 Slow Down Move Over Day Campaign

This year’s national CAA Slow Down Move Over Day is Tuesday, May 10. However, the entire month of May will be devoted to Slow Down Move Over for continued safety education and awareness for all motorists.

This year’s campaign will include social media messaging and produced television commercials that focus on five first responders who share their personal messages about their 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.
 

Background

  • 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.

Distracted Driving

Nearly 8 in 10 Canadian drivers (79%) admit to being distracted while driving, according to a recent 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.”

CAA’s new 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.

Distracted driving takes your eyes, and mind, off the road. It 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 Top 10 safety tips to avoid distracted driving:

  1. Set your playlist, podcast, safety features, whatever you can, before you drive
  2. Set the GPS and review directions before driving
  3. Do not text, use apps, or check social media
  4. Stow and secure loose objects
  5. Avoid eating and drinking while driving
  6. Prepare children with everything they need before driving
  7. Allow plenty of travel time
  8. Do not groom yourself
  9. Always keep two hands on the wheel
  10. 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

Distracted Driving Statistics in Saskatchewan

Over the past five years (2016-2020), an average of 877 people have been injured each year in collisions caused by driver distraction and inattention on Saskatchewan roads, which represents one out of every five auto vehicle injuries. Distracted driving also results in an average of 26 fatalities per year. Distracted driving injures more people than collisions resulting from impaired driving and speeding combined. Learn more about the Costs of Distracted Driving.

Source: Saskatchewan Government Insurance

Senior Drivers

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

Young Drivers

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
 

Phantom Vehicles

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.