Being a safe and responsible driver takes a combination of knowledge, skill and attitude. To begin, you must know the traffic laws and driving practices that help traffic move safely. Breaking these “rules of the road” is the major cause of collisions. Traffic laws are made by federal, provincial and municipal governments, and police from each level can enforce them. If you break a traffic law, you may be fined, sent to jail or lose your driver’s licence.
If you get caught driving while your licence is suspended for a Criminal Code conviction, your vehicle may even be impounded. But you need to do more than just obey the rules. You must care about the safety of others on the road. Everyone is responsible for avoiding collisions. Even if someone else does something wrong, you may be found responsible for a collision if you could have done something to avoid it. Because drivers have to cooperate to keep traffic moving safely, you must also be predictable, doing what other people using the road expect you to do. And you must be courteous.
Courteous driving means giving other drivers space to change lanes, not cutting them off and signalling your turns and lane changes properly. You must be able to see dangerous situations before they happen and to respond quickly and effectively to prevent them. This is called defensive or strategic driving. There are collision avoidance courses available where you can practice these techniques. Defensive driving is based on three ideas: visibility, space and communication.
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