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Safe Driving Skill: Safe Turning

Just three short years ago, Transport Canada released some shocking statistics that should be a wake-up call for all Canadian drivers

Their studies found that there were over 124,000 collisions on Canadian highways in 2009 that caused injury or death.

At Boyd, we want to see this number go down. We believe it can if all Canadians commit to drive a little more safely. We also recognize that it's hard to make a lot of big changes. So we're encouraging everyone to make small changes… just to improve one driving skill each month.

This month, we are encouraging people to turn safely. Turning sounds like something you do but it is an entire skill set on its own: You need to judge distances, brake and accelerate in a controlled fashion, keep the vehicle on course, and watch for obstructions in your blind spot. Turning seems easy but it's really not!

Here's how you can turn better

  1. Signal! Of course! This is step one. As you approach your turn, make sure that you are signaling in plenty of time so other drivers are aware of what you are going to do and they don't try to go around (in the same direction you're turning)
  2. Slow down in time. A slower speed will give you the most control around the corner. If you approach the corner going too fast, you could drift into another lane and hit another vehicle
  3. Judge your distances: Become aware of the path all four tires take as you turn. On a right turn, for example, the front left tire will make the widest arc, while the front and rear right tires will make a narrow arc (and, in fact, the right rear tire will "cut" the arc)
  4. Watch your blind spots: You actually have up to three blind spots when turning: You have the rear quarter panel blind spot (of the side of the vehicle you're turning toward). You also have the front two corners of the vehicle. If you're turning left, the front right corner of the vehicle is a blind spot and it can be easy to clip something that is too low for you to see. If you're turning right, both the front right and front left corners of the vehicle hide low things from your vision
  5. Keep your vehicle on course and smooth. It's so easy to let the vehicle drift too far around the corner by not turning sharp enough, and it's so easy to let the vehicle cut the corner too sharply by turning the wheel too tightly. Instead, you need to keep your corner smooth and predictable, trying to match the two inside tires with the angle of the corner
  6. Remember to take the weather into consideration: Winter roads are icy and will reduce traction. Slow down even more to maintain control

Turning safely is a skill. Fortunately, it's something you can "practice" several times on every drive.

DISCLAIMER: This article is presented for informational purposes only and should not be seen as any kind of advice. The information provided herein or linked to via this article is 'as is' with no guarantee of accuracy or completeness. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

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