Young Drivers in North America

Young Drivers in North America

“Motor vehicle accidents (are) the leading cause of death among teens in Canada (CAA)

The high percentage of teens killed in motor accidents every year is not news. This trend seems to have been more or less consistent since the invention of the automobile. There are just some fundamental characteristics of a forming teen mind that makes operating motor vehicles that much more dangerous. The big factor is that generally teens feel they are invisible, especially teen males. This feeling of being untouchable is generally what leads youngsters to driving behaviors such as speeding, racing, and making more risky decisions like questionable lane changes or high-speed maneuvers. This is why insurance companies generally set rates significantly higher for young drivers, most notably because they have less driving experience and are more statistically likely to be involved in a motor accident.

Young drivers can combat both higher insurance rates and also reduce their own risk while driving by signing up with an accredited driving school. For about $750, Young Drives of Canada as an example will not only allow young drives to earn their license faster but will arm them with the tools necessary for collision free driving. What a lot of parents and adults don’t realize when they are driving is that they are a role model to the youngsters watching them and they are picking up their bad driving habits. Driving skills are learned, not inherited. Research has shown that 95% of parents believe they’re safe drivers, but 82% of teens report seeing their parents being careless when driving”. (Link)

Sixteen to twenty-five year olds constituted 13.6% of the population in 2010, but made up almost 33.4% of the impairment-related traffic deaths. Studies generally conclude that young drivers are over-represented in road crashes for two primary reasons: inexperience and immaturity. Although young people are the least likely to drive impaired, the ones who do are at very high risk of collision.

Young drivers currently represent a significant percentage of road crashes and are a leading cause of death among teenagers. The statistics for motor vehicle crashes and impairment-related crashes among young drivers can be quite alarming. Young drivers have the highest rates of traffic death and injury per capita among all age groups. They also represent the highest death rate per kilometer driven among all drivers under 75 years of age. More nineteen-year-olds die or are seriously injured than any other age group. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 25 year olds, and alcohol and/or drugs are a factor in 55% of those crashes. (Link)

7 Tips to Avoid Aggressive Driving Behaviour

Aggressive driving and road rage are on the rise in Ontario. According to a recent Ipsos Reid survey, “Canadian drivers are increasingly annoyed by construction projects, fellow motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.” The survey also found that a significant percentage of motorists had been on the receiving end of discourteous behavior. “As many as 82 percent of those surveyed had encountered a driver who failed to signal, 73 percent had been tailgated and 63 percent hadn’t been allowed to merge into traffic.”

Aggressive-driving behaviours, such as speeding, failing to give the right-of-way, tailgating, and cutting off someone too closely, may cause other drivers on the road to become frustrated and angry thus contributing to a potential road-rage fueled conflict between drivers.

“Aggressive or careless driving such as cutting off other drivers, speeding, tailgating, talking on cell phones and not using proper signals is almost always what incites road rage,” said John Vavrik, a psychologist with ICBC.

An angry driver may attempt dangerous retaliatory action. Avoid becoming angry on the road by following these tips:
1. Know what makes you stressed while driving and combat it by getting fresh air, breath and count to ten, or listen to relaxing music
2. Make a conscious decision to leave your issues behind you when driving
3. If you are on a long road trip, take a break from driving every few hours
4. Don’t challenge or instigate another drivers, or retaliate for what you believe to be aggressive driving behaviour
5. If someone else’s driving annoys you, don’t try to prove a point to the person. Leave that to the traffic enforcement police
6. Don’t take the mistakes and driving behaviours of others personally
7. Avoid laying down the horn at other drivers, unless absolutely necessary for safety concerns like potential collisions. A light tap on the horn is usually sufficient to signal the other driver.

Remember that if you are a courteous and respectful driver, you are less likely to find yourself in a road rage situation. To reduce those occurrences when a driver is lost and more likely to increase the road rage of others around them, plan your route in advance. Be polite and let other drivers in front of you when they are signaling that they would like to do so. And most importantly, remember that we all share the road, let’s be respectful to each other and avoid collisions or arguments that will just further anger and upset everyone involved.

X-Copper’s Survival Guide for Long Weekend Driving

weekend driving

Ah, long weekends. Family, friends, and an extra day off work…it all seems so nice. Until you remember that you first have to get there; to the same general area that everyone else is going and at the same time that everyone else wants to get there. It’s the perfect storm for congestion, frustration, traffic stops, and tickets. To help you get the most out of your long weekend we have compiled not one but two lists for surviving the long weekend drive! The first list is 3 quick tips to help you get there and the second one is more of a how-to if you’re pulled over by police. Hopefully, this will help you get to where you need to go as quickly and safely as possible.

To begin, here are:
Continue reading

Hands-Free Device

Think you can make a flawless left turn while chatting on your cell phone, all while staying completely focused on the road? Think again. A study published last week in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience shows there are significant risks to using your cell phone while making a left turn – even if you’re hands-free.

The Study and What It Means for YouLeftTurn
Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto studied the brain activity of 16 participants, both men and women, as they made left turns on a driving simulator. They asked basic questions and monitored how the participants’ brains responded. Different parts of the brain became more active, but what was most striking was the huge drop in attention devoted to visual processing. In other words, that could impair your ability to make a safe left turn.

Left turns at busy intersections carry enough risk as it is, what with watching out for pedestrians, keeping an eye on the traffic light and, of course, observing oncoming traffic. So it’s no surprise that a large number of serious accidents occur at these very locations. The added distraction of someone talking to you over the phone – even if you’re not holding the phone – could make you more likely to slip up in a situation that demands your full attention with very serious consequences.

Cell Phone Bans and Legislation in Canada

Aside from the risk to your own safety and those around you, there’s another reason to resist the temptation to use your phone at the wheel. All ten Canadian provinces have some sort of legislation restricting the use of cell phones while driving. While legislation in some areas may involve demerit points, others do not. For example, in Ontario, using a handheld communication device while driving could land you a $155 ticket but no demerit points. This law does not apply if you are pulled off to the side of the road or parked, or if you need to dial 9 1 1. However, the consequences could be much steeper if you are charged with careless or even dangerous driving because you are not focused on the road.

Tips on Making a Proper Left Turn

  1. Put that phone away! Even if you are not covered by a cell phone ban, it’s still risky to be fiddling with it while driving.
  2. Put any other distraction on hold, whether it’s listening to a radio talk show or reprogramming your GPS. You can even ask a talkative passenger to hang on a minute while you make the turn.
  3. Wait for the car ahead of you to make its turn before entering the intersection.
  4. Don’t enter the intersection on a yellow light. It’s not worth the risk.

While we hope you never get a ticket for making an improper left turn or for using your cell phone while driving, if you do, contact Toronto traffic lawyers, XCopper, to get a free consultation and learn about your rights.

Happy Halloween 2012

With Halloween just around the corner we thought it would be a good idea to remind all the parents and drivers of some safety tips as the young ones fill our streets!

For the kids

Teach them how to safely cross streets. They should look both ways and cross only at corners and crosswalks.

Keep it light! Give them flashlights and glow sticks, and/or use reflective tape on their costumes, so drivers can see them.

Keep it slow: Walk don’t run especially around busy streets. This gives you and the drivers more time to react should you need to!

Obey the rules of the road: As pedestrians you should always obey traffic signals and give right of way as needed. When crossing at a crosswalk make sure to press the button and proceed when directed.

For the Drivers

Be careful when pulling out of your driveway: Every year children are killed or injured needlessly by drivers backing out of their driveways and don’t see them through the rear window.

Drive slowly and don’t pass stopped vehicles. The driver might be dropping off kids, and they may not think to check for oncoming vehicles!

Watch for kids running into the street. Kids will cross the street anywhere and not wait for the pedestrian crossing or corner. Many pedestrian deaths occur at spots other than intersections.

Yield! Children might not stop, either because they don’t see your vehicle approaching or don’t know how to safely cross the street or simply are too excited to remember.

Communicate with other drivers. Always use your turn signals, and if you pull over to drop off or pick up your kids, turn on your hazard lights.

Mind the weather: Rain makes it harder to see, especially when it gets darker, and it takes longer to stop in the rain.