Sunday, February 13, 2011

Distracted Driving - Happy Valentines Day

Monday February 14th...HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

I really hope you have taken the time to tell the people in your life how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them.  After all, Valentines Day is the day to do it.  In reality, if someone means something special to should tell them every chance you can.

Now, I'm not a specialist in relationships, psychology, sociology or anything like that, so I won't continue on the "tell them you love them" rant.  I will say, there is a really good reason that I'm suggesting it though.  There is a significant chance, it could be the last time you ever see them alive.

Do you have any idea how many people around us are texting, talking emailing, reading, eating or doing any number of "ing" things while they are driv-ing?

I see it everyday driving around...people using a device that has nothing to so with the task of driving a car.  Call it what you want; distracted, multi-tasked, inattentive, ignorant, unsafe, uncalled for...just don't call it safe or acceptable.  And I'm not the only one who sees it.  You see it too.  You probably complain about it and look at others with disgust and contempt when you see it.

Then you hope like crazy no one sees you when you take that 'important call'.  You hold your phone strategically in your lap so you can glance at the screen when the 'life and death' text message comes in.  You justify that there is an incredible value to the email that you have been waiting much value you read it while travelling 120 km/h...that email has more value than your life, my life, or the lives of everyone else around you.

Since February 1, 2010, Ontario Police have been able to lay charges for distracted driving.  In Toronto that has meant 16,708 charges in one year.  (Feb 1, 2010 to Feb 1, 2011)

According to studies that have been done, a driver who is texting increases the chance of being in a crash 23 X.  A driver who is talking increases their risk 4 X.

So, my suggestion for Valentines Day this year along with every day leading up to it and everyday after it...tell the people that are special in your lives how much they mean to you.  With a lot of people around you risking your life, its only a matter of time before the odds catch up to you.

If you are one of the people who are driving distracted...then hopefully when you crash it will only be minor.  Could you imagine how you would feel the rest of your life if you were responsible for killing someone on the most romantic day of the year?

Take a few minutes to watch this video about the REALITY of distracted driving.

Feel free to day to take the No Phone Zone Pledge.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter Driving Tips from Toronto Police

Special thanks to my partner, Hugh Smith for compiling the information contained in this press release.
If you have any other safe driving tips for winter, please add them in the comments section.

Following too close!
Winter driving tips
Toronto Police Service

Broadcast time:  2:14 PM
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Traffic services
416 808 1900

This will be the first Major winter storm of the season for the Toronto area. The heavy snowfall and blowing snow may cause whiteout conditions making for extremely hazardous driving conditions.
The public should be prepared to change plans accordingly to avoid unnecessary travel during the storm.

To ensure you are ready for the rest of the winter season, here are some reminders from the Toronto Police Service.

Driving – avoid any unnecessary trips.

  • Slow down and leave more space; driving slower allows more time for reaction and reduces stopping distances.
  • Look well beyond where you are travelling, and utilize your mirrors to be aware of your surroundings and other traffic.
  • Try to identify possible hazards well in advance.
  • Drive within your ability, as well as the vehicles limits and the equipment you have for the conditions.
  • Continually evaluate the need for driving, changing environmental conditions and road conditions.
  • You should avoid driving while wearing heavy boots, gloves and cumbersome coats. Carry these items with you. The size of these items can hinder your ability to feel the controls and limit your movement.


  • Tires: whether you are opting for winter, snow or all-season tires, ensure they are in good condition and are properly inflated.
  • Battery: have your vehicle's electrical system and battery level checked to ensure adequate cold weather starts.
  • Wipers: change worn or broken blades.
  • Washer fluid: reservoirs should be filled, and carry an extra container of fluid.
  • Booster cables: a set of cables is great insurance to help not only yourself, but others.
  • Snow brush/scraper: a long-handled brush, scraper or a broom, are essential for clearing your entire vehicle of snow and ice.


  • Pack a survival kit for the winter driving season
  • Include food, water, blankets, candles, lighter/matches, winter boots, gloves, and hats.

Traffic Services is dedicated to ensuring the safe and orderly movement of traffic within the City of Toronto. Stay informed with what’s happening at Traffic Services by following us on Twitter (TrafficServices), and Facebook (Toronto Police – Traffic Services), and the Blog.

Constable Hugh Smith, Traffic Services