News & Resources

Staying Safe in the Summer: Safety Tips for Drivers, Pedestrians, and Cyclists

June 17, 2021
5 mins
A young son runs towards his happy dad with open arms outside in a park

Summertime the best time of the year. But it's not all ice cream cones and slushies. Make your summer the best it can be by practising safety first.

Safety tips for pedestrians

There's nothing like a walk outside to enjoy the warm weather, but we still need to take precautions. Parachute Canada notes pedestrian injuries in Canada are one of the leading causes of injury-related deaths for children 14 years old and younger. Enjoy a leisurely stroll outside, but remember to:

  • Watch where you're walking when using a mobile phone. Texting and walking can be hazardous if you’re not aware of your surroundings.
  • Turn down the music; you should always be able to hear what's going on around you.
  • Cross at intersections or crosswalks, and, like your parents told you, always look both ways before crossing a street.
  • Be mindful of traffic turning at intersections or entering and leaving driveways or parking lots.
  • Never assume a vehicle will stop for you, even if you have the right-of-way.
  • Talk to your kids about how to be safe while walking; walk on sidewalks or paths, and cross at street corners using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Children should be reminded to walk, never run when crossing streets, and only play in areas away from roads, traffic, and vehicles.
  • Children under 10 should cross the street with an adult. While every child is different, it can be hard for them to judge the speed and distance of cars.
  • Remind kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
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Bike safety: tips for cyclists

In the beautiful weather, cyclists are as commonplace on the roads as cars, and both need to share the road. Cyclists of all ages need to:

  • Obey the rules of the road. According to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, bicycles are vehicles and cyclists are subject to the same rules and fines drivers are for infractions.
  • Make it easy for motorists to see you by wearing clothing with reflective strips or bright-coloured attire. Cyclists need to have reflective lights on the front, back, and side of their bikes.
  • Wear a helmet that fits properly. In Ontario, 63% of cyclists who died between 2010 and 2014 because of a cycling collision were not wearing a helmet.
  • Use proper hand signals to tell others on the road of your intentions.
  • Stay focused and never wear headphones or talk on the phone while riding a bike.
  • There are also child bike safety courses available to give your young ones the skills they need to ride safely.
  • Consider getting First-Aid training in case you need to provide emergency treatment for common cycling injuries such as cuts and fractures.

Safety tips for drivers

Regardless of the time of year, obeying the rules of the road, driving the speed limit, and avoiding being a distracted driver is essential for the safe operation of a vehicle. But in the summer, there are more people to watch out for, which requires paying closer attention to what’s going on around you. Of note, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation says the most common errors among drivers involved in pedestrian collisions include failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, distracted driving, and speeding. Avoid that scenario by:

  • Taking a second look for cyclists and pedestrians at intersections and driveways.
  • Playing it safe. Even when a pedestrian or cyclist doesn't have the right-of-way, yield to them.
  • Driving slowly in residential areas and community safety zones. A pedestrian struck by a car that’s travelling 50 km/h is nearly six times more likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck at 30 km/h.

Water safety tips: swimming

According to the federal government, drowning is one of the leading causes of death for young children between the ages of one and four. Moreover, in its 2020 National Drowning Report, the Lifesaving Society of Canada says 465 Canadians died from drowning in 2017, with 32% of water-related fatalities linked to swimming.

The weather may be hot and the water inviting, but water safety is vital at all times. Take these precautions whenever you or your family go for a dip:

  • Children should be supervised by a person who knows how to swim, who will stay within sight and reach of the child when in or around water.
  • Children who are swimming should never be left alone – even for a second. If you have to go into the house, or away from the water, then bring them with you.
  • Children who don't know how to swim should wear a lifejacket.
  • Learn to swim (it's great exercise); until you do, restrict your activities to wading only in shallow water when a lifeguard is on duty, and you're wearing a floatation device.
  • Take a First-Aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training course.
  • Swim only during the day, and never at night or during storms.
  • Do not swim when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Never swim alone.

Road trips! What's a summer without them?

A road trip is always a great idea, but before you pack the car, remember to:

  • Make sure your vehicle is revved up and roadworthy. Have a mechanic look over your car and top-up all fluids before leaving.
  • Plan to drive 300 to 400 kilometres a day. By limiting how much you drive, you'll be able to stop at roadside attractions, enjoy meals and take breaks. Aim to stop driving by dinner, so you can eat and relax for the rest of the evening.
  • Pack travel insurance if you’re venturing outside of your home province.
  • Get a good night's sleep and share the driving responsibility.
  • Make sure everyone in the vehicle wears a seatbelt all the time.
Liam Lahey

Liam Lahey is a versatile, seasoned writer and editor. He worked as both a staff writer and freelance writer for many business and technology publications as well as for several newspapers. He writes about home, auto, and travel insurance, and is a media spokesperson for RATESDOTCA.

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