New Car Features That Improve Driver Safety

As vehicle technology advances, consumers have access to a variety of new safety features. The following are just some new technologies to look for the next time you shop for a vehicle:

  • Adaptive headlights: This feature uses information like steering wheel movement and speed to pivot the direction of your headlights, thus improving visibility.
  • Collision monitoring: These systems alert drivers with audio, visual or physical cues when sensing an impending crash.
  • Electronic stability controls: These tools slow individual wheels during turns to help keep a car on course.
  • Onboard cameras: These 360-degree cameras improve visibly when drivers back up or park.
  • Lane assist: These systems detect if your vehicle departs a lane and can even provide corrective action.
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Items to Consider Following a Car Accident

A motor vehicle collision can be a stressful experience for everyone involved. To respond appropriately, there are a number of critical post-crash steps you need to keep in mind – steps that can help get your insurance in order or even save a life. Remember to do the following:

  1. Turn off your vehicle and stay on the scene. Only move your vehicle out of the way of traffic if it is safe to do so. If your vehicle cannot be driver, turn on your hazard lights or use cones, warning triangles or flares, as appropriate.
  2. Call the authorities if anyone is injured or there is significant damage to vehicles or public property.
  3. Take photos of the accident.
  4. Record as much information as possible, including your information, the other driver’s information, and a description of the collision.
  5. Inform your insurer of what happened and ask for next steps.

Having appropriate car insurance is vital to limiting stress in the time of a car accident. For example, not everyone considers collision coverage necessary due to the age of the vehicle or don’t include “Loss of Use” coverage which will provide a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.

If you’re unsure of your coverage, it’s best to call or email your insurance representative.

How to Avoid Distractions While Driving

Driver distractions have joined alcohol and speeding as leading factors in crashes that cause fatal and serious injuries. However, cellphones aren’t solely to blame. Anything that takes any of your attention away from driving is a distractions. There are three main types of distractions:

  • Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – Taking your mind off of driving

Sending or reading a text while driving is the equivalent of driving blindfolded for 5 seconds.

Whether driving for work or for personal reasons, it is important to remember that any activity that you engage in while driving is a potential distraction that increases your risk of crashing. Taking the following precautions can help you avoid distractions while driving.

  • Silence your mobile devices and keep them away from you while driving to avoid being distracted by notifications. If you must receive phone calls while on the road, pull over before answering, even if using a hands-free device.
  • Set destinations in GPS devices before you depart.
  • Make a playlist on your phone before you leave to avoid the temptation of selecting songs or changing radio stations.
  • Avoid eating while driving. Take proper breaks to allow yourself time for meals.
  • Speak up if you’re a passenger of a distracted driver. Offer to take over the driving responsibilities.

Using and Maintaining Headlights

Your vehicle’s headlights are an essential part of staying aware of your surroundings on the road. Bright, well-maintained headlights can be the difference between seeing a pedestrian and a fatal crash. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t use or maintain their headlights properly.

You should always turn your vehicle’s headlights on as soon as you get into the driver’s seat. Even if it’s bright outside, your headlights can help pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers see you more easily. Some experts also recommend that drivers always use their headlights’ high beams at night to increase visibility, and to turn them off only when there’s an oncoming vehicle.

It’s always best to check your headlights regularly to ensure they’re clean and aren’t in danger of burning out. Because headlights dim over time, it’s always best to replace them both at the same time in order to create an even field of vision when driving.

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Motorcycle Safety

There are more than 672,000 registered motorcycles and mopeds in Canada. Though they are a popular transportation option, motorcycles are also dangerous.

In 2015 alone, 200 motorcyclists died as a result of accidents, according to a study by Transport Canada.

To remain safe, motorcyclists should practice the following safety precautions:

  • Test drive your motorcycle before you purchase it to ensure that you can properly control it.
  • Take a motorcycle safety course.
  • Be mindful of the weather and road conditions at all times.
  • Wear a helmet and other safety gear.
  • Follow posted speed limits.
  • Exercise extreme caution when you are carrying passengers.
  • Do not drink alcohol before or while operating a motorcycle.

By utilizing the above tips, you can ride with confidence and avoid potentially deadly accidents.

Fuel-Saving Strategies

Fuels costs tend to fluctuate, and you never know when the price to fill-up is going to break the bank. As such, it’s important to save on gas whenever you can by considering the following:

  • Carpool or ride a bike to work to cut the car out of the equation completely.
  • Lighten your car by removing heavy items from your trunk. This can help improve your car’s overall fuel economy.
  • Avoid long idles. Idling for just one minute consumes the same amount of gas as starting your engine.
  • Stay up to date on oil changes.
  • Drive slower. You can improve your fuel economy by approximately 20 per cent by reducing your highways speeds.

If you are in the market for a new car, be sure to compare fuel economy ratings of the vehicles that interest you.

Preventing Auto Theft

Cars are a popular target of crime because they are relatively easy to steal. To reduce your risk of becoming a victim, use the following tips:

  • Never leave your car running and unattended.
  • Never leave your keys in the car or ignition, even inside a locked garage.
  • Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of your home.
  • Park in high-trafficked, well-lit areas, if possible.
  • Consider anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks or fuel cut-off switches.
  • Purchase an auto alarm system if you live in a high-theft area or drive a theft-prone vehicle.

For additional protection, a strong auto insurance policy can help you recoup some of the losses associated with a stolen vehicle.