The Importance of Driver Safety Programs

Take a look at the benefits of learning the rules of the road, or getting a refresher after you've been a driver for some time.

Did you know that collisions injure or disable up to 50 million people annually, and claim the lives of nearly 1.25 million people per year?

That’s 3,287 people per day. 

Driving as we currently practice it is quite dangerous; 94% percent of collisions are caused by human error. Our neighbours south of the border have gone so far as to call it the “great, unnoticed public health menace.

In other words, most incidents are totally preventable. 

When a plane crashes, we invest time and money into figuring out what went wrong and then create standards to ensure the same mistakes never happen again. With driving, the responsibility is distributed and there’s a shared obligation for keeping each other safe.

How can driver safety programs make the roads safer?

A driver safety program can take different forms. It may be an anti-distracted driving course offered by a local driving school, or a defensive driving program for proactive motorists. It could also be an app that monitors your driving and offers tips for improvement. 

At the core of any driver safety program is the goal to educate drivers on safe driving practices, raise awareness of common causes of collisions, and equip motorists with the training they need to be alert and aware on the road. 

A driver safety program instills good habits in students and new drivers

Whether you’ve just turned 16 or you’re an adult learning how to drive for the first time, we recommend enrolling in a driver’s safety education program. 

Why? Well, the way we're introduced to a new skill impacts how we practice it over the long term – this means that people who are introduced to driving in the context of safety hit the road with that ethos firmly in mind.

Sure, you have the option of getting your G1 (or provincial equivalent), practicing with a licensed driver, and taking your exam for your full license without ever taking a formal class or lesson. But a driver safety program instills lessons about safety, defensive driving, and awareness that you may miss out on if you learn solely from a friend or family member.  

Which brings us to our next point...

Even experienced motorists can benefit from a driver safety program

Driver safety programs aren’t just for new or young drivers. Consider that statistic from earlier; almost all collisions are caused by human error. There are a lot of licensed drivers out there who might’ve learned about safety and awareness when getting their license, but let their good habits falter as time went on. 

A driver’s education course can both refresh old, and introduce you to new concepts and techniques that’ll help you be safer on the road.  

Joining a driver safety program or enrolling in a class doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a bad driver. It means you’re interested in learning everything you can to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Convinced you’re an excellent driver? It’s still worth monitoring your driving habits, and you can use driver safety apps to check out how often you’re speeding, braking too hard, or hard-cornering and hone your technique. 

What exactly will you learn from a driver safety or defensive driving program?

Driver safety programs are incredibly empowering. 

Our economy and daily lives rely on driving, so hearing that driving is dangerous is a pretty depressing thought. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are proven strategies for making our roads safer. 

For instance, many driving mistakes are caused by what’s known as poor “visual search.” Most collisions are preventable, and knowing how to take in your surroundings, assess risks, and respond accordingly isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. But it is a skill you can practice through a driver safety program. 

In a driver safety program, you learn how to:

  • Sharpen your situational awareness and notice risks before it’s too late
  • Control your speed 
  • React quickly to what other drivers do, like slamming on the brakes ahead of you
  • Predict what other drivers will do (and how to react if drivers don’t do what they’re supposed to)
  • Drive safely and strategically in poor weather conditions
  • Remain calm and control your emotions during frustrating situations like traffic jams
  • Practice respect and courtesy on the road
  • Apply techniques for preventing collisions

Driver safety programs contribute to safer Canadian roads

Preventing most collisions is entirely possible. If, as a society, we made distracted driving as unacceptable as drunk driving or driving your children without a seatbelt, we’d greatly reduce the number of collisions on the road. The thought of pilots taking off exhausted or failing to complete emergency training is horrifying to us; the same logic should apply to driving. Driver safety programs can help get everyone on the same page and make Canada’s roads safer. 

Want to track your driving habits to see if they’re up to par? Download Onlia Sense for iPhone and Android today to see what you drive score is, and earn rewards for being a safe driver.