Safe driving habits that save you money

Human error is the cause of 90% of road accidents Opens in new window. Practicing good driving habits not only benefits your safety and the safety of others, it can also save you money and time. Keep these three habits in mind when you’re driving and help improve the experience for everyone on our roads and highways.

1. Don’t speed – it’s not worth the risk or the cost

According to a Transport Canada study Opens in new window, most people exceed the speed limit, particularly on highways. Yet, over 20% of collisions on Canadian roads involve excessive speed.

Many people try to justify that driving faster gets you to your destination sooner. Occasionally, this may be true, but is the time you save worth the risk of a collision, injuries and fines? Consider a 25 km trip on a highway:

  • Travelling at the posted 100 km/h speed limit will take you 15 minutes
  • Travelling at 110 km/h will take you 13 minutes and 38 seconds

In this case, you only save one minute and 22 seconds. However, this doesn’t factor in traffic congestion or traffic lights when you get off the highway – both of which are likely to eliminate this minor time savings Opens in new window. At the same time, studies estimate speeding increases your risk of an accident by 30%.

Speeding also costs you money. In addition to the potential fines from law enforcement, aggressive accelerating and braking uses more fuel and wears out your brakes faster. An aggressive driver is likely to use 25% more fuel than an average driver Opens in new window, which can cost a regular commuter an extra $500 per year.

2. Keep your eyes on the road – distraction can be deadly

You may think you’re a great multi-tasker, but did you know that humans are only consciously able to attend to one task at a time? It’s not possible to pay full attention to driving while completing another task – like texting, changing the radio or eating.

Even if it only takes you two seconds to look at your device, you’ve already doubled your risk of a collision. At 100 km/h, you’ll travel 52 meters in two seconds – nearly the length of a hockey rink – over which the road conditions can drastically change.

Along with substantial fines and demerit points Opens in new window, some provinces are discussing the introduction of license suspensions for using hand-held electronic devices while driving. From both a safety and financial perspective, distracted driving is a bad idea, so stay focused on the road.

3. Maintain tire pressure – it’s cost effective and safer to drive

Driving with tires that aren’t properly inflated reduces your vehicle’s handling capabilities and increases your stopping distance. It also means you’ll need to replace your tires more frequently, as under-inflated tires worsen tread wear and increase the chance of your tires rupturing. Finally, your fuel economy will suffer if you drive with the wrong tire pressure.

Thankfully, these expensive problems can be mitigated by routinely using an inexpensive tool – a tire pressure gauge – which you can get online or in the automotive section of many local retail stores. Even if your car has an electronic tire pressure monitoring system, it’s a good idea to keep a gauge in your glove compartment. Check your vehicle’s owner manual or tire information placard for the correct pressures.

Here are more essential tips to keep your vehicle in good condition Opens in new window.