Injuries due to transportation, regardless of type – motor vehicle, walking, cycling – are a significant problem in Alberta.
Motor vehicle safety
For many adults, driving a motor vehicle is a daily activity, and may even be part of one’s job. It is easy to forget that driving is a complex activity.
Common reasons for motor vehicle injuries include impairment by alcohol or drugs, driver distraction, aggressive driving, not wearing a seatbelt and, in some cases, lack of adequate training.
Take smart risks to reduce injury related to any type of motor vehicle (e.g., car, truck, motorcycle).
- Look first means think ahead.
- Remember that you share the road with other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
- Make sure you can see the road clearly. Take time to clear ice, snow and dirt from your vehicle’s windows and lights.
- When turning, look both ways for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Be patient, especially with children, elderly pedestrians or adults with small children or strollers, who may need more time to cross the road.
- Be alert and slow down on residential streets and through school/playground/construction zones.
- Skill development through training and practice can reduce the risk of injury.
- Take a defensive driving course, enrol in motorcycle training, and obey the rules of the road.
- Seat belts and child safety seats save lives and prevent injuries and are two of the most effective safety devices ever invented.
- Wearing a seat belt is the law in Alberta. But it’s more than that: it just makes good sense. Make it a habit. It sets a good example for others, including your own children.
- Bring your full attention to the task of driving. There is no place for alcohol or drug impairment, aggression, fatigue, or cell phones when you are behind the wheel. Any type of distraction, and any level of alcohol or drug, increases your risk of injuring yourself and others.
- Alberta’s new distracted driving law restricts drivers from texting, reading, using hand-held cell phones, and other distracting activities while driving. The proposed fine for this offence is $172. For more information about the distracted driving law, go to the Government of Alberta Transportation website.
On the road, a bicycle is classified as a vehicle, and cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles.Since bicycles are one of the smallest vehicles on the road, you must make an effort to be seen and heard. Reflective tape, reflectors and lights make you more visible. Bright clothing catches people’s attention in the daytime. For more information, go to bike and small wheeled recreation safety. Remember to share the road.
Active transportation is the most affordable, healthy and sustainable mode of transportation. But pedestrian injuries involving motor vehicles are among the most severe.Pedestrian safety is for everyone, regardless of age. Pedestrians can take steps to reduce the risk of injury by taking smart risks.
- Make sure motorists and cyclists can see you.
- Remember you share the road with motorists and cyclists.
- Use pedestrian lights if the intersection is equipped with them, but always check the intersection before stepping onto the crosswalk or road. Do not cross in the middle of the block or between parked cars.
- If there are no crossing lights, wait until it is safe to cross. Assume drivers can’t see you.
- Make eye contact with drivers and wait for cars to stop. Even cars that appear to be slowing down may not stop.
- Wait until traffic has come to a complete stop before crossing. Watch for traffic turning at intersections or into driveways.
Wear the Gear
- Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips when walking at dusk or at night. Consider carrying a flashlight or flashing red light at night.
- Know and obey the rules of the road.
- Alcohol or drug impairment and cell phones are the kinds of distractions that make you more at risk for getting injured while walking. Pay attention, keep aware of you surroundings and be in control of your actions.
Recommended web links
- Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research focuses on advancing the impact of prevention, emergency response, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries in Alberta. Site provides information about distracted driving including the information sheet Take Action to Stop Distracted Driving.
- Transportation: Office of Traffic Safety focuses on traffic safety issues in Alberta such as the motorist, commercial vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.