SGI is offering advice to help drivers avoid getting in collisions as part of their Traffic Safety Spotlight for January and February.
Most recent statistics show that there were 29,983 collisions recorded in SGI’s Traffic Accident Information System (TAIS) in 2022. The TAIS only includes collisions were there were injuries, or where repair costs for damaged property and vehicles exceeded $5000.
Tyler McMurchy, spokesperson with SGI, said that while the main concern is always safety, there are a number of monetary penalties associated with getting into an accident that drivers should consider.
“If you have basic plate insurance and you are responsible for a collision, you’ll have to pay a deductible. That deductible is $700. If you have a package policy, you may pay a lower deductible, but your insurance premiums for that package policy may rise.”
He added that you could receive up to six demerits if you’re found to be at fault for a collision, which can lead to the loss of discounts on insurance or having to pay a financial penalty of $50 for each negative point on the scale.
Depending on any offences surrounding a collision, you might also have to pay fines. “Driving without due care and attention – that's a $580 ticket. Running a stop sign – that's a $230 ticket.”
Most collisions occur in intersections, and some contributing factors that are within a driver’s control include drivers not paying attention or not giving the proper right of way, speeding, or following too close to the vehicle in front of you.
Shay Shpak, director of driver examination services with SGI, says that where you’re looking is particularly important at intersections. “You want to scan from left to right continually, looking for real and potential hazards.”
“You’ve got the cars coming from the left, and they’re the closest to you – so that’s why it’s left, centre, right, centre.”
At uncontrolled intersections without signs or lights, she says to slow your speed, scan for traffic, and yield to any traffic on the right.
When approaching intersections with pedestrian crossing signals, the red hand flashing to stop pedestrians from crossing is an indication for motorists that the traffic light is going to turn yellow. “As you’re approaching an intersection, you want to take your foot off the gas pedal and hover it over the brake pedal so that you’re prepared for others’ mistakes.”
There are important considerations for turning, too. “You want to signal your intention to turn, check your mirrors, physically check your blind spot by looking over your shoulder, and then move into the correct lane.”
Sources of distraction that should be avoided while driving include using your phone, eating, drinking, smoking, or applying makeup.
In ideal road conditions, you should have a minimum following distance of 3 seconds from the vehicle in front of you. In winter conditions with ice and snow on the roads, this following distance should be increased.
In 2022, there were 3.56 collisions recorded per 100 licensed operators in SGI's Traffic Accident Information System.