Drivers wise to take precautions on and off the road
When Ontarians think of terrible driving conditions, car accidents and bad visibility, winter is usually the season that comes to mind, yet the most severe road accident-related injuries actually occur during the summer months. Emergency personnel have come to label this three-month period that follow spring as “trauma season.”
Statistics from MTO show that fatalities nearly double in summer time months compared to winter months and in 2011, 83.5 per cent of fatalities occurred in clear visibility as opposed to rain, snow or freezing rain. The main culprits of this phenomenon are distracted driving, higher speeds and increase of recreational motor vehicles.
“Summer also means more drivers are on the road, and, now we don’t only have cars to contend with but motorcycles and scooters as well. Everyone is out because people have felt cooped up for almost eight months,” said Ray Syed, Instructor at Canadian Academy of Defensive Driving. “There are people who would jeopardize other people’s safety because they want to get to some place they want to get to.”
As the weather heats up, drivers are prone to distraction, increasing their speed and driving more aggressively. In 2013, distracted driving was the cause of 26 per cent of vehicle fatalities in Ontario, surpassing impaired driving fatalities by eight per cent.
Aside from to curbing the road rage and putting your smart phone in the glove box, what if it’s just not your fault? There are other steps you can take to help protect yourself and your loved ones in the driving days of summer.
“One of the best preventative measures people can take to protect themselves and their families is to buy optional car insurance benefits,” said William Teggart, personal injury lawyer in Barrie specializing in severe car accident-related traumas.
“If you’re like most people, when you receive your car insurance renewal in the mail you just scan the numbers, but this can be costly. Each day, I see seriously injured people running out of money to pay for the care they need after a crash.”
In 2010 the law changed and car insurance customers had their basic no-fault car insurance benefits cut by half – unless they bought optional benefits or suffered a catastrophic injury.
“This meant that people who were expecting their physiotherapy, occupational therapy, mobility devices and other treatments to be paid for, discovered they were only partially covered by OHIP or not at all,” said Teggart. “Often, the small income benefit they receive is just enough to cover their basic bills and there is nothing left over. It’s a huge problem.”
Bill suggests speaking to your insurance company about purchasing optional accident benefits.
“The last thing someone wants after coming to terms with a serious injury is to realize that they don’t have the money to pay for rehab. It becomes another obstacle in their recovery.”
Bill also recommends to take a moment, to not only review your car insurance policy but what is covered by any extended health care plan through your work.