Nearly every month ICBC runs a new campaign to target a road safety concern. Here at the onset of May, their latest campaign asks the province to help make the roads safer by urging all drivers to slow down. And therein lies the quandary. The call to “slow down” should be enough, right? After all, all it takes is to take the foot off the gas just enough to abide by the speed limit. But alas the solution isn’t as simple as it seems, which is why Park Insurance is weighing in with some effective tips to help you mind your speed when driving, and help make BC roads a safer place.
5 Ways You Can Be More Mindful of Your Driving Speed
1. Know the Limits
The phrase, know the limit, may be best recognized as a warning about driving under the influence, which can certainly have an impact on speed, but in this case we’re flipping the script and asking you to educate yourself about the speed limits that relate to your current and up and coming routes.
Study and memorize them like you did your multiplication times tables in grade school. Think you know them already? Take note that just a few months ago (November 2018) the province lowered the speed limits on 15 sections of highway throughout BC, basing the adjustments on three-year’s worth of data regarding motor vehicle accidents (MVAs). The lowered limits (by 10 km/h) impacted the Sea to Sky Highway, Okanagan Connector, the Island Highway, and Highway 1.
It’s time for a refresher on standard highway speed limits, along with variable speed limits in BC (found here) which are in place to improve driver safety during unfavourable weather conditions and road construction.
2. Don’t Succumb to Peer Pressure
Have you ever been on the highway, followed the speed limit to the tee, but noted that everyone else around you on the road zipped ahead? Perhaps the leader of the pack had a radar, caught no wind of a speed trap, and hit the accelerator pedal and incited other drivers to do the same. Or, you assumed that they saw a change (increase) in speed limit signs that you must have missed. Resist the urge to follow suit and disregard whatever scenario is playing in your head. Instead, follow the speed limit that you know to be true until you see one stating otherwise. Switch lanes and let them pass while you stay on the safe side. This is the one case where the highway 3-second following rule, should not be followed – if they’re speeding, give them way more!
Of course, peer pressure can also come from within the vehicle, from passengers that want to get to your collective destination as soon as possible. Let them know ahead of time that you’ll be sticking to the limit, and if they begin to mumble about it in the backseat simply tune them out with some good tunes and get everyone to where they need to be, safely.
3. let them pass
If someone makes an unwanted pass at you while walking through the mall, feel free to speed ahead and away. But when it comes to the road, and you’re following the speed limit, let them pass. In fact, help the passing driver get back into your lane by slowing down further (safely so) and make room for them, especially when in urban areas with traffic ahead.
4. Leave Early
Whether taking the kids to school in the AM or leaving for a long weekend trip, leave more than enough time to get to your destination at its intended time.
When it comes to your daily routine (i.e. driving to school and/or work) all it may take is to set your alarm 10-minutes early or simply roll back your clocks accordingly. You’ll want to avoid speeding at the end of your day too, especially when the roads are full of agitated drivers who all have somewhere to go. This can be tough for some with tight schedules, especially when you can’t leave work early to get where you need to be, but it’s not worth risking life and liability to make it happen. If someone (i.e. your child) is waiting to get picked up, come up with a plan so that they are not left waiting curbside. For example, your kids can wait in the school office or go to a nearby friend’s house until you can pick them up. This needs to be mapped out ahead of time so that you’re not calling them on the road, which is a big no-no in itself. Whatever your daily schedule looks like, there’s a plan that can be made so that you’re not in a rush in the morning, afternoon, and/or night. Remember, there is no good time of the day to speed.
When it comes to driving on the highway, it can be harder to gauge travel time. Weather, road construction, and pit stops can set your schedule back. That is why you must leave yourself plenty of room to get to your destination. Yes, a trip along the Coquihalla from Vancouver to Kelowna should only take 4 hours and 21 minutes, but a lot can happen between A and B to extend that estimation. So if you need to be at B by a certain strike of the clock, add at least one more hour (two is even better) to your anticipated itinerary. That way you’ll feel no need to speed, and you may even get to your destination with some free time to spare.
Before you turn the ignition, take a few deep breaths and make sure you’re of sound mind. That means relaxed and tension-free. When driving anxious, agitated, or downright angry you are more likely to drive aggressively. By gathering your thoughts and emotions, you will be better able to maintain control, which is essential to driving within the speed limit. If soothing music soothes your soul, then preset your soundtrack before starting the vehicle and let the symphony unfold as you make your way. If at anytime negative or anxious thoughts return, pull over at the next rest stop, and repeat. Eventually this practice will become habitual, as will your tendency to drive within the speed limit.
If the above tips are not enough to but a dent in your speeding habits, you may want to print a copy of the latest changes to how ICBC calculates auto insurance premiums. When you find out how speeding tickets and speeding related MVAs will impact your bottom line you’ll definitely ease that heavy foot off the gas. For more on automobile insurance, contact Park Insurance today.