Whether you’re a newly licensed driver or a veteran with many years of experience, it’s always possible to be safer and smarter on the road. Keeping your car insurance premiums low means staying claims-free. From planning your journey out of and packing your vehicle to avoiding distractions and busting bad driving habits, here is a list of important tips to follow.
Planning and Packing
The first thing you should do if your trip is taking you into unfamiliar territory outside of Calgary is look up the route online using your GPS or a tool like Google Maps. Check out major landmarks, interchanges and traffic conditions to help you prepare for the journey, and make sure your cell phone is fully charged before heading out. Handheld device safety (and the law) includes programming your GPS device before you hit the road.
If you have a lot of items to pack, you should always:
- Place heaviest items as far towards the front of the storage area as possible
- Make sure you have full visibility out all your windows
- Secure any loose items that might shift while you’re in motion
If you’re going on a long road trip, remember that drowsy driving can be extremely dangerous. Have a strategy in place to fight fatigue when you’re behind the wheel.
Safer Driving in the City
Of course, you should always obey posted speed limits and all traffic signs and signals. Be a courteous driver by sharing the road with cyclists, and keep an eye open for pedestrians and turning vehicles. But beyond these basics of safe city driving, there are a couple of other important pointers that may not be quite as obvious.
It’s always a good idea to keep your doors locked whenever you’re driving to keep yourself and your passengers safe. If an unknown individual makes any attempt to get into your vehicle, honk the horn to draw attention to the situation, and drive away the moment it is safe to do so.
Running out of gas is a major inconvenience, and it can also be dangerous if you find yourself in a run-down or unfamiliar area. As a general rule of thumb, you should keep your gas tank at least one-quarter full at all times. Once the gauge dips below that level, pop into a gas station and fill up.
Distracted Driving and Other Bad Habits to Avoid
According to some statistics, distracted driving is even deadlier than drunk driving. Distractions include more than just handheld devices; anything that takes your attention away from the road can quickly lead to an accident if you’re not careful.
Keep in mind that Alberta has recently increased its penalties for distracted driving. Your car insurance could also rise if you’re in an accident as the result of distracted driving.
Bad habits can be hard to break, so make a conscious effort to change your conduct if you’re prone to these common behaviours:
- Speeding and trying to outrace yellow lights
- Failing to leave enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you
- Failing to signal when turning or making a lane change
- Not watching where you’re going when you’re in reverse
- Failing to come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign
- Playing music too loudly, or engaging in conversations with passengers to the point of distraction
- Weaving between lanes in slow traffic
If you’re driving at night, exercise extra caution. Reduced visibility is a major factor in many nighttime collisions, and it’s particularly important to be careful when driving after dark in areas you don’t know well.
When parking, stick to well-lit areas, activate your car alarm, and make sure you don’t leave any valuables in plain sight. If you don’t have a car alarm, consider pasting a security company sticker to your window instead. Would-be thieves will likely decide to move on to an easier target.
Finally, be sure to keep a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. There’s no telling when a breakdown might leave you stranded at the side of the road, and your emergency kit could save your life if you end up with an inoperative vehicle in a remote area or during cold weather.
Lane’s Insurance Is Here to Help With all Your Car Insurance Needs
Lane’s Insurance is a top provider of car insurance in Calgary and throughout Alberta, with trustworthy advice, excellent customer support, and money-saving bundles for holders of auto and home insurance policies. Visit Lane’s Insurance online today to get a fast, free quote for car insurance.