How to stay focused and avoid distracted driving

Transport Canada reports that distracted driving now causes more collisions than impaired driving. Most of these types of incidents can be avoided if the proper precautions are taken. Here’s how to make sure you stay focused when you’re behind the wheel.

Only use your cellphone for emergencies

When you’re driving, your cellphone should only be used in the case of an emergency, never for a social call. Even using a hands-free device can distract you enough to miss a crucial visual or audio cue that would allow you to avoid a collision. Always safely pull over before using your phone.

Don’t try to power through fatigue
Fatigue, considered a type of cognitive distraction, can be lethal if you’re driving. If you start feeling drowsy, pull over to a safe location and allow yourself to doze off for a few minutes. It’s also a good idea to take regular breaks to stretch your legs, which can diminish feelings of fatigue. Nodding off or falling asleep at the wheel could have disastrous consequences.

Limit the level of activity in your car
While it’s understandable that you and your friends will want to have conversations while you’re cruising in your car, try to keep them short. Make sure your attention is on the road and not on your passengers, especially when you’re driving in difficult weather conditions.

Don’t eat and drive
Anything that pulls your attention away from what’s happening on the road increases the risk of crashing, and that includes eating while driving. You might think finishing your meal on the go will save you time, but food spills are a major source of distractions. The potential time save isn’t worth the risk to you and others.

Don’t multi-task
Never forget that when you’re driving, you’re in control of multiple tons of metal propelled by a powerful engine. It may be tempting to catch up on small tasks while driving, but don’t do it. No matter how comfortable you are behind the wheel, you can’t account for what other drivers do, and you can’t control what happens on the road. The best way to stay safe is to remain focused.

Develop good driving habits early

Good habits start in driving school. If you live in Surrey, Burnaby or elsewhere in the Greater Vancouver area, you can trust the instructors at North Shore Driving School to provide quality courses. Our truck driving schools are accessible to residents throughout the Lower Mainland (including Langley, Abbotsford and beyond). Contact us today to find out more about our programs or simply register for more info using our easy and quick registration form.0

Winter Truck Driving Tips

Winter truck driving can be a completely different experience compared to summer driving. Experience helps, but even those who have taken on the harshest road conditions can use a friendly reminder on how to stay safe and warm on the roads this winter season. For truck drivers, it can be helpful to remind yourself of some of the tricks for handling commercial vehicles and large trucks on roads covered with ice, sleet, snow, freezing rain and everything that Mother Nature throws at us in the winter.

Tips for Truck Drivers in Winter Conditions

Be prepared for the snow, slush and ice this season. Here are some things you can do to prepare your truck for the cold road ahead:

  • Inspect Your Truck Before You Leave – Take the time to properly remove snow and ice from your vehicle. Do a thorough job removing snow from the roof, hood, trunk, lights and windows to ensure maximum visibility on the road.
  • Keep a Winter Driving Kit in Your Truck – Be prepared with a winter kit and keep it in an accessible place in your vehicle. Your kit should include: proper clothing (extra layers, warm gloves, and rain gear), a flashlight, batteries, blankets, water, non-perishable food, First Aid kit, sand or salt, washer fluid, windshield scraper and brush, jumper cables, and tire chains or traction mats.
  • Leave a Little Extra Time and Space – It is important not to speed or rush in winter conditions. Drive slower and leave extra space between you and other vehicles in order to account for decreased traction on the roads. The required stopping distance increases as the temperature drops, so being patient and alert can make a big difference in winter weather.
  • Use Evasive Manoeuvres and Steer with Confidence – When driving at speeds above 40 km/h, deceleration and steering around obstacles requires less distance than braking to a complete stop. Sudden braking or steering in winter conditions may cause you to lose control of your vehicle, so steer with precision and control. Be aware of your trailer pushing your vehicle along curves and turns. If you do find yourself in a skid: depress the clutch quickly, look at the left mirror, steer and counter-steer as quickly as possible to get back in front of the trailer.

Most importantly, don’t risk your safety. If the conditions are too difficult to manage, do not drive or find a safe place to stop and wait for the storm to pass.

Prepare for Winter with Lessons from a Reputable Driving School

Whether you are an experienced truck driver or looking to learn, driving lessons in BurnabyCoquitlam, Abbotsford or anywhere else in the Greater Vancouver area can help you improve your skills and stay sharp on the road. North Shore Driving School offers personalized driving courses that will have you handling your truck with confidence, regardless of the weather conditions.

North Shore Driving School, Ltd. offers truck driving lessons at our driving school in Surrey, Burnaby and surrounding areas. Prepare yourself for another winter season, or learn how to handle a large vehicle, with experienced instructors and a variety of course offerings.

Learn more about our truck driving courses. Give us a call at 604-988-1138 or use this online contact form to get in touch.

Texting While Driving: The New Danger

A Belgian project tricked teens into thinking that in order to successfully pass their driving tests, they needed to text and drive at the same time. The teens’ reactions as they attempted the test said it all – that the practice was dangerous and could harm lives.

Here is one concrete fact: texting while driving does harm lives. In 2011, 23% of car accidents involved cell phones – that added up to 1.3 million potentially-preventable crashes.

Why is Texting and Driving So Dangerous?
We’re a multi-tasking population. People are used to doing a million things at once: cooking, working, watching TV, and talking on the phone all at the same time. However, driving is one activity that cannot be multitasked. When you’re on the road, driving at a high speed amidst unanticipated situations, a second of reduced attention could mean an accident.

Among driving distractions, texting is probably the biggest culprit, because texting takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds. If you’re driving at 89 km/hour, this means you would drive the entire length of a football field without watching the road!

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that texting while driving is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.

How Can You Avoid Texting While Driving?
While you may be convinced that texting while driving is dangerous, what do you do when you get on the road and your phone beeps next to you? Try these tips to make texting while driving less enticing:

  • Put your phone in a place you can’t reach it so you’re not tempted to text
  • If you’re in a texting conversation before you head out, alert your friend that you’ll be driving and won’t be able to respond
  • Turn your phone to silent
  • If you need to talk to someone in an emergency situation, pull off somewhere safe to respond
  • If you feel you need something to entertain you while driving, listen to music, the radio, or an audio book

Remember, texting while driving isn’t a minor issue. It’s a serious danger to you and anyone driving around you on the road.

The next time you’re tempted to text while you drive, remember that it is banned in all provinces in Canada. Remember that it has caused millions of crashes. Remember that it’s easy to turn your phone to silent, put it away, and forget about it until you’re safely parked at your destination. If you’d like to learn how to drive safer in the Vancouver area, contact us today.