Rules of the Road
The spring legislative session began earlier this week. I look forward to the challenges of keeping Saskatchewan growing and the opportunity to present Moose Jaw interests at the provincial level. At this time of the year, the daily trips to and from the legislature can be a challenge in itself with little sign of winter coming to an end. While the first snowfall of the season is always the hardest to adjust to, significant snowfall and colder than average temperatures this past month have presented challenges of their own, reminding us to stay up to date with conditions and drive with extra care and attention.
My 15-year-old grandson with his learners’ licence is a positive reminder of safety on the roads. While new drivers have a lot to learn, they conscientiously practice to follow every rule of the road. Stop signs mean coming to a complete stop, not just slowing down. They make a complete stop before turning right on a red light; signal and shoulder checked before changing lanes. This is all pretty basic driving knowledge that many of us may overlook in our busy lives.
Making a habit of being a conscientious driver in good road conditions will decrease the chance of vehicle damage, time loss, or worse yet, injury, when road conditions are less than ideal.
SGI offers some important winter driving tips.
- Clear snow from your vehicle, including headlights and taillights, and be sure your windows are completely defrosted before you drive.
- Slow down. Posted speed limits are for ideal driving conditions. Adjust your speed accordingly when conditions are less than favourable.
- Don’t use cruise control in slippery conditions.
- Leave more distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, allowing yourself more time to stop.
- Invest in a set of winter tires, which provide improved traction on winter road surfaces.
- Turn on your headlights, so other drivers can see you.
Sometimes, when venturing out in wintry conditions, we have a false sense of security just because we have a cellphone. Even if we’re travelling on a major highway, there can be delays because of weather conditions or a collision. Having a full tank of gas, a safety kit, snacks, water, and warm clothing or blankets is very important when heading out. If you are stranded, always stay with your vehicle.
At any age, keeping up good driving habits requires a deliberate effort. SGI has published a booklet, “The Mature Driver”. This booklet is available at motor license issuers or online at www.sgi.sk.ca. The Saskatchewan Safety Council offers refresher courses for older drivers and defensive driving courses.
The SGI Safe Driver Recognition Program rewards safe drivers with a discount on their vehicle insurance. Depending on how long drivers have been incident-free, they can earn a safety rating point giving them from two to twenty-five percent off their vehicle insurance.
On the other hand, the program also ensures drivers who demonstrate risky behaviours pay their share in financial penalties, helping offset the costs of the discount for safe drivers. The number of points lost varies based on the driving incident. Penalties are applied to even common infractions like speeding, changing lanes at an unsafe time, or failing to stop at a stop sign.
Thank you to our highway crews, our city crews, our tow truck drivers and all First Responders who do their best to prevent tragedy in our winter weather. The rest of us can do our part to keep ourselves and others safe.