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9 Simple Tips Every Driver Should Know

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Ahead of Canada Road Safety Week, here’s a refresher on some ways to avoid the unexpected on your next drive
Although right now many of us are staying home to be safer during the pandemic, driving is still an important part of daily routines. It’s how we get to work or school, how we visit friends and family, and how we take those unforgettable road trips. But that freedom also comes with risk: There were more than 100,000 vehicle crashes that caused injuries in Canada in 2018, and more than 1,700 crashes that caused fatalities, according to Transport Canada.

Of course, Members with a paid OnStar plan*1 know that they have access to OnStar Emergency-Certified Advisors*41 in the case of the unexpected. Just push your red Emergency button inside your vehicle or within the OnStar Guardian™ app*58 to speak to an Advisor, who can notify First Responders.

Even with the added peace of mind that comes with having OnStar on your side, it’s important to take steps to prevent problems on the road. For Canada Road Safety Week (May 18–24, 2021), we’re sharing a few reminders about the simple steps you can take to help avoid the unexpected — even as we stay close to home these days, it’s always good to refresh on helpful driving tips. Here are nine tips all drivers should follow out on the road.

#1: Stash away distractions

Being preoccupied with eating, music playlists or talking on the phone is a dangerous way to drive. Transport Canada reported that distracted driving contributes to an estimated one in five fatal crashes and more than a quarter of crashes involving serious injuries. If you can’t give the road ahead your undivided attention, safely pull over, or ride as the passenger. Stashing your phone in the glove box is a good way to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times.
#2: Drive smoothly
Instead of accelerating up to a red light, take your foot off the gas and coast for a few seconds before braking. In fact, driving smoothly and carefully is a good tip for all aspects of driving, including steering around corners.
#3: Take advantage of daylight
Driving at night can be risky, due to reduced visibility and drowsy drivers. While it’s not always possible, try to adjust your journey time to drive during daylight rather than at night; it can make the journey less stressful and potentially less dangerous. Keep your vehicle’s lights in good condition, too, and be sure your headlight switch is turned on or to “Auto” at night.

#4: Check your vehicle

Just as you need a checkup at the doctor from time to time, so does your vehicle. For instance, regularly check that all your vehicle’s fluids are topped off and your tires are correctly inflated. If you have a Connected Services plan*1 and your vehicle is properly equipped, you can also check your vehicle’s tire pressures and estimated fuel level through your vehicle mobile app*20 — you can even schedule service through the app, too. Remember, if you do encounter a problem like a flat tire, dead battery or another issue requiring a tow, simply push your blue OnStar button (or call us at 1.888.466.7827) to request Roadside Assistance.*13
#5: Don’t drive tired
It can be tempting to keep driving for a few hours more on a long road trip, or to make a planned journey even if you feel exhausted. However, driving while tired or even just drowsy can increase your risk of being involved in a crash. On long journeys, take a break every couple of hours or anytime you feel sleepy behind the wheel, and don’t rely on coffee, sugar or other stimulants to keep you alert.
#6: Check the weather
At any time of year, poor driving conditions can clog up the roadways and make for a more dangerous trip. Before you leave, check the forecast and see if inclement weather — like heavy rain, fog, strong winds, or even snow — is headed your way. Leaving a bit earlier or later could make a big difference. In winter, be sure to have low-temperature washer fluid and an ice scraper in your vehicle. In some provinces, you’re also required to equip your vehicle with winter tires to help provide better traction in slippery conditions.

#7: Always look right

When making a right-hand turn, many people only look left. But if you’re turning right onto a two-lane road, you should also look right and make sure a car is not using your lane to pass. It may sound like a small thing, but this extra second could help avoid a head-on collision.

#8: Slow it down

There are many complicated algorithms that all find one simple truth: Speeding doesn’t save significant time. But it can eat up your fuel efficiency, put you at risk of a ticket and even increase your chances of having a crash. Transport Canada reports that 27 percent of road fatalities involve speeding. So observe posted speed limits and ease off the gas a little bit.
#9: Look out for others
As an OnStar Member, you have the ability to act as a Good Samaritan when you see somebody else having difficulty on the road — even if they’re not an OnStar Member. Whether you see something as minor as a stray animal on the roadway or a flooded road, or as serious as a vehicle crash or downed power line, simply push your red Emergency button to report the issue. Read more about how one OnStar Member acted as a Good Samaritan on the road.