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Driving and Auto Safety

Kingston Police makes traffic safety a priority with proactive enforcement. Officers in our Traffic Unit and Patrol work every day to discourage and prevent:

  • Speeding
  • Aggressive driving
  • Running stop signs
  • Running amber or red lights
  • Texting and distracted driving

Aggressive drivers rely on other drivers not to make mistakes.

Defensive drivers are prepared for other driver’s mistakes.

Driver better.

Drive defensive.

Enforcement is only part of the answer to the safety of all road users, the rest is up to you!

Follow the rules of the road, drive defensively, avoid distraction, use proper child car seats, be alert to spot any motorcyclistscyclists, and pedestrians, and be sure to share the roadway. Visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation for more information about sharing the road.

Driving safety

  • Signal all lane changes, turns, and stops

  • Avoid using any handheld electronic devices while driving

  • Double-check blind spots before changing lanes

  • Drive within the posted speed limits and according to the weather and traffic conditions

  • Use lights and seatbelts at all times

  • Take extra care when entering and changing directions at an intersection

  • Know what is behind and around you, remember to check your rear-view mirror every few seconds

  • Avoid staying in other drivers blind spots

  • Give cyclists a minimum distance of 1 metre when passing

Keep at least a 2-second following distance when you’re driving in the city and keep a distance of 3 to 5 seconds on the highway. If you are following too close and the driver ahead has to slam on their brakes, you may not be able to react in time to avoid a collision.

Make sure to:

  • Look well ahead and be proactive to any obstacles and hazards ahead

  • Be aware of vehicles when traffic has stopped and slow down if you see anyone coming up behind you

  • Check traffic lights often to avoid running an amber or red light

Keep your vehicle in good condition and keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure. Make sure your brakes are in good working order and ensure your windshield is always clear.

Winter safety tips

Make sure that your vehicle is prepared for winter driving. Winter tires are a good option. They give you better traction under snowy or icy conditions.

Keep a snowbrush and scraper in your car and items that can help you in an emergency, such as a lightweight shovel, battery jumper cables, and a flashlight. Make sure to clear ice and snow from all your mirrors, windows, and the top of your vehicle before getting onto the road.

Driving is more difficult to make in the snow. Be sure to anticipate what your next move is going to be to give yourself lots of room for turns and stopping.

Don’t make any abrupt turns or stops when driving as your vehicle can lose control and skid. The main cause of winter collisions is often driving too fast. Be sure to drive slowly and carefully on snow and ice covered roads.

Brake slowly to reduce speed before entering turns. Once you have rounded the corner you can accelerate again. 

Never use cruise control if conditions are snowy, icy, or wet. If your car hydroplanes, it will try to accelerate and you may lose control of your vehicle.

When skidding, you actually need to go against your natural instincts and turn into the skid and accelerate. Doing so transfers your vehicle’s weight from the front to the rear and often helps vehicles to regain control.

Tailgating becomes much worse in winter weather. Stopping takes much longer on snowy and icy roads than on dry pavement. Be sure to leave enough room between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), do not “pump” the brakes. Apply constant pressure and let the system do its work.

General safety tips for drivers, passengers, riders

Before you get into your car, it’s best to:

  • Keep your vehicle in good repair, including plenty of gas and current road maps.
  • Check your vehicle's fluid levels and tire pressure regularly.
  • Get a call police sign and emergency kit in the event of a break down.
  • Carry an ice scraper and shovel in your car during the winter months.
  • Buy a cellular telephone and keep the batteries charged at least every 30 days (You can buy a cigarette lighter adapter to save batteries).
  • Have your keys ready, so you do not have to linger outside your car.
  • Visually check the outside of your vehicle.
  • View the interior of your vehicle before entering to assure no one is hiding inside, even if the doors were locked.

While in your car, it’s best to:

  • Always lock your car after entering and when leaving it.
  • Keep the windows closed.
  • Know your route and stay on it.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.

You must always wear your seat belt. You should wear the lap belt low on your hips, touching your upper thighs, to prevent abdominal injuries or spinal damage. Wear the shoulder belt over the shoulder and across the chest. Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under arm.

If you become standard, follow these tips to help you stay safe:

  • Know where you are so that emergency services can locate you (Consider using a GPS device to assist you) and remember that calling 9-1-1 on a cellphone does not give police your location.
  • Keep doors locked and windows rolled up (If you open your window, only open it to the point of breaking the seal, no further).
  • If a stranger offers to help, ask them to call for assistance, or advise them the police are on the way, but do not get out of your car.
  • Place a call police sign in the window.
  • Do not stop to offer help to a stranded motorist. Call for assistance for them.

If you think you are being following:

  • Do not drive home because you do not want that person to know where you live.
  • Drive to the nearest police station, open service station or drive-in restaurant.
  • Once you park in a public place, stay in your vehicle and use the horn to draw attention to yourself.

Try to get the licence plate number of the vehicle following you, as well as make, model, colour and a description of the driver. If you have a phone, call the police right away.

It’s important to stay calm while you drive. These tips can help you avoid a situation that could lead to road rage:

  • Pay attention to your driving and do not drive while talking on your cell phone.
  • Keep to the right when driving at the speed limit, use your signals and be courteous.
  • Avoid tailgating, flashing headlights or cutting other people off.
  • Switch the radio station if it’s upsetting you.

If you are a victim of road rage

If someone is acting aggressively toward you on road, you should:

  • Avoid eye contact while driving
  • Drive away if you can, especially if someone approaches your vehicle while being hostile
  • Not leave the relative safety of your vehicle
  • Not issue or respond to verbal taunts

Make sure to get a description of the vehicle and occupant(s) including their licence plate and contact police.

Always make a mental note of where you've parked and think ahead before you park (Will it be dark? If so, park near lights). Try to reverse your vehicle into the parking spot for a clearer view when you leave.

If you are in a parking structure, you should know where the nearest exit is and where you’re going before you exit your vehicle. Try to walk to your vehicle with a friend.

When you use public transportation, you should know the schedules and sit near the driver. During the evening hours, ask the driver to let you off near your destination as part of their request stop program.

Be careful when you speak with strangers. Avoid giving your name, address or place of employment. Avoid clothing or items that identify you or your profession. Have someone meet you at your stop.

If you’re hiring a driving-service, take the time to do a little research. Visit their website, learn what safety measures they have in place and how exactly their service operates.

You should get the drivers name, photo and licence plate number. This way you know who is picking you up ahead of time and should not have to approach unknown vehicles or persons to find your ride.

Make sure to share your destination and ETA with your family and/or friends, so they know where and when to expect you. You can follow your trip using your phone’s GPS so you know where you are.

Drivers and cyclists must stop and yield the whole roadway at school crossings, pedestrian crossovers and always for crossing guards. Pedestrian crossovers are identified by signs, pavement markings and lights. Some crossings have overhead lights, warning signs and pedestrian push buttons.

Learn more about pedestrian safety from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

There is a zero alcohol, zero tolerance policy for young and novice drivers who are under 22 years of age and any driver with G1, G2, M1, or M2 licences. You are prohibited from having any presence of cannabis in your system as well as other drugs. Learn more about the penalties for impaired driving from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

If you’re a driver of a vehicle that requires an A-F class licence, a Commercial Vehicle Operator's Registration (CVOR), or road building machines, you are prohibited from having any presence of alcohol or cannabis in your system as well as other drugs.

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