Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New Year's resolutions for drivers

Randy Youngman

Randy Youngman, Alberta Office of Traffic Safety - For many of us in Alberta, our vehicles are a place where we spend a great deal of our time. Unfortunately, when we are driving, we do not always act as courteously as we would like others to, and in doing so, put ourselves and others in danger of being involved in a collision. With a new year looming large ahead of us, let’s resolve to try and do better in the coming year.

Motor vehicle collisions still negatively impact too many lives. We must develop an attitude that even one life lost on our roads is not acceptable!

I would like to list my top picks for 2017 New Year’s Resolutions. In the spirit of the New Year, please seriously consider adopting these resolutions to become a safer driver in 2017 and going forward:

I resolve to: 
  • Never drive impaired. Any form of impairment is unacceptable, dangerous and puts everyone on our roads at risk. Alcohol has long been a primary source of impaired driving and now drugs (recreational and medicinal) are becoming more and more prevalent. In 2015 almost half (1,434) of the 24-hour suspensions issued in Alberta were for drug consumption. If you plan on partying this season, plan ahead and make sure you have a designated driver, hand over your keys, or call a cab. 
  • Never use my cell phone behind the wheel. There are still far too many people texting and driving on our roads, putting everyone's lives in danger. Put the phone down or pull over, safely and legally, to use it. If you know you give in to the temptation to pick up your phone while driving, use an app to block the phone from being operated while your vehicle is in motion. 
  • Drive the speed limit. Speeding is a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes. Even when speeding isn’t the primary cause of a collision, it always makes it worse. 
  • Always buckle up. Even though Alberta’s seat belt wearing rate is at an all-time high, we still hear of people dying and being injured as a result of a failure to buckle up. Seat belts save countless lives every year by protecting passengers from hitting hard vehicle surfaces or being ejected from the vehicle in a crash. Make it your resolution to buckle up each and every time--even for short drives--and don't start driving until you know all passengers are buckled, as well. 
  • Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists. Collisions between pedestrians and bicyclists never end well. Drivers need to be especially diligent around crosswalks and remember to look both ways for bikes even on one-way streets. Likewise, pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings, not walk distracted, and wear bright and/or reflective clothing. 

Have a safe and happy 2017! For more information and resources go to the Saferoads website at or call your local police agency.

Randy Youngman is a regional traffic safety consultant with the Alberta Office of Traffic Safety and can be reached by e-mail:

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