by Lori Straus
As Ontario sees a glimmer of light as the rules of lockdown are relaxed a little, you’ll start seeing more cars—and possibly more bikes and pedestrians—on the roads. That can lead to an increase in accidents, which can take away valuable healthcare resources from the pandemic. Here are seven tips to help keep the roads sane.
1. With fewer people likely relying on public transit, there may be more cyclists on the road.
Remember that cyclists can use any part of the lane in certain circumstances. In other words, they are not required to ride next to the curb. In fact, they are advised to ride their bikes at least 1 m from the curb, moving into the lane to avoid puddles, potholes, sewer grates, and other obstacles. Give them space, at least 1 m, too.
2. Keep an appropriate distance from the vehicle in front of you.
The Ministry of Transportation Ontario’s Driver’s Handbook recommends keeping a two-second distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Use extra caution when stopping behind large vehicles, e.g., transport trucks. When their drivers release the vehicle’s brakes, it can roll back.
3. Drive carefully through construction zones.
Proceed with caution and obey all warning signs and traffic-control workers. Do not try to squeeze through. These people may look like they’re just standing there, but they deal with their share of verbal abuse, even getting run over. Try to make their day instead of rushing through the construction zone.
4. Be mindful of slow-moving vehicles.
Depending on where you live, this can include horse-drawn buggies, bicycles, mopeds, and electric bicycles. Give them space.
5. Keep to the right.
Possibly the bane of any driver’s existence is other drivers who pass on the right and slow down on the left. It’s the other way around.
6. When turning, stay in your lane.
While you’re turning onto a street, stay in your lane. Signal to change lanes once it’s safe to do so.
7. Watch for pedestrians.
In 2018, Ontario reported that 4,128 pedestrians were injured and 117 killed in motor vehicle accidents. With the weather warming up and stores slowly opening, more people will likely be out walking, even if just to find their own sanity. Pedestrians may also step onto the road to avoid an oncoming pedestrian. Drive carefully, especially as you turn corners.
Driving Safely Is an Easy Way to Help
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to help others during a crisis like this. You might even get frustrated at reports showing dozens and hundreds of volunteers helping during the pandemic, because you want to help, too, but have to work, look after dependents, and possibly even help with schooling. Driving courteously cannot only make someone’s day, it could save someone from injury or even save their life. (Not to mention yours.)