Maintaining good driving habits and avoiding accidents will help keep your Calgary car insurance low. Unfortunately, bad habits are as easy to develop as good ones! Many local drivers have a tendency to follow others too closely, which is a very dangerous practice, especially in the winter. Snow and slick, slippery driving conditions make roads more hazardous.
In Canada, hundreds of thousands of people have been injured in car accidents caused by needlessly aggressive or reckless driving behaviour. Remember that if you rear-end another driver, you’re highly likely to be deemed at fault in the accident, and that will affect your Calgary car insurance rates. There is no need to take this risk and expose yourself and others to danger.
Under Alberta law, drivers found guilty of tailgating face a $172 fine, and a penalty of four demerit points. With winter in full swing, now is the time to brush up on safe following distances and how to extract yourself from the situation if another driver is tailgating you.
Principles for Safe Following Distances
One of the best-known methods you can use to make sure you’re following other drivers at a safe distance is the three-second rule.
Choose a landmark ahead of you, such as a bridge or a lighting standard. Once the vehicle ahead of you reaches the landmark, time yourself to see how long it takes you to reach the same point. If the elapsed time is any less than three seconds, increase your following distance accordingly. Road safety experts recommend allowing at least four to six seconds during wet and snowy weather, and if conditions are very inclement, it’s wise to adjust this up to 10 seconds or more.
For a handy chart on how following distance affects safety at various speeds, visit this helpful page hosted at SmartMotorist.com.
How to Safely Evade a Tailgater
Many drivers rightfully get nervous when they’re being tailgated, but the good news is that there are several proven techniques you can use to extract yourself from a potentially volatile situation.
If you’re occupying the left lane on a highway and another driver is hot on your heels, the easiest thing to do is move over to the right. The left lane is meant for passing, and it should only be occupied if you’re overtaking another driver. While you’re well within your rights to drive in the left lane on a highway without exceeding the speed limit, many drivers consider this discourteous. The best course of action is to cede the lane to vehicles travelling at a higher rate of speed.
If you’re being tailgated on a single-lane road, consider increasing your rate of speed if it is legal and safe to do so. Should this fail to remedy the situation, pull on to the shoulder to let the driver behind you pass. No matter what, avoid knowingly contributing to another driver’s frustration. This can lead to road rage, and that can have deadly consequences.
It’s also important to maintain a steady speed, so that the driver behind you can accurately determine when it will be safe to pass. In most cases, tailgating isn’t personal, and chances are the driver behind you just wants to overtake you. Let them. Don’t put your own safety at risk.
Avoid Rear-End Crashes
Heavy traffic can make it very difficult to maintain the recommended following distance, and in such situations, you need to be more defensive than usual to avoid rear-ending the vehicle ahead of you. Be sure to follow these important safety tips:
- Always scan the road ahead of you to anticipate changes in the flow of traffic, and adjust your speed accordingly
- Be sure to maintain properly inflated tires with healthy treads, and have your brakes checked regularly to make sure they’re functioning correctly
- Switch to winter tires between October and May
- Remain alert at all times, and keep your eyes on the road
- Never engage in distracted driving, especially not on a busy thoroughfare
The City of Calgary offers this free guide to local roads, which can help you be a better-prepared driver. Now that winter is here, it’s also a wise idea to review the recommended step-by-step protocol to follow if you’re in an accident.
Calgary Car Insurance from Lane’s
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage, offering outstanding value and extensive claims support to local drivers. To find out how much you stand to save by switching to Lane’s, visit us online for a fast, free quote.