In 2009, Transport Canada measured the number of collisions causing injury or death on Canadian roads
The number, they found, was 124,000. That's not a number that is likely to go down. At Boyd, we'd like to see that number diminished as more Canadians become careful drivers.
We've dedicated 2012 to be the Year of Safer Driving, and we're doing our part by encouraging everyone to work on just one driving skill each month. We believe that if we all can improve one driving skill each and every month, we'll all drive safer and diminish the number of injury- or death-causing collisions on Canadian roads.
This month, the safe driving skill to work on is braking in time.
Our vehicle's brakes give us a false sense of security. Brakes have been scientifically engineered to react quickly to slow our vehicles, and are made even more effective with anti-lock braking systems (ABS). As a result, our vehicle's brakes seem to be highly responsive, allowing us to stop on a dime.
But that's not really the case.
There are numerous factors that go into the ability of our vehicle to stop
- Our attention to the road
- Our reaction time to get our foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal
- The weather conditions (such as a slippery road)
- The useful life remaining in our brakes
- The grip of our tires
- The ability of the vehicles behind us to react appropriately and stop in the same distance
Although our brakes are engineered to be effective, they are largely a dependent system
Dependent on the other factors listed above. If all of those factors come together perfectly (and they often do) then we'll brake on time. However, all of those factors do not always come together perfectly. Our attention might be pulled away from the road for a moment or icy roads might make them slippery. As a result, we should not rely solely on our brakes the way we used to, but should commit to braking earlier and slowing down steadily as we approach anything that needs to be braked for (like a crosswalk or intersection).
In other words, we tend to stand on our brakes to stop the vehicle when we should gently apply increasing pressure.
This month, commit to starting your braking action slightly sooner than you normally do and notice the positive difference it makes in the safety of your driving!