This August, the Alberta RCMP is focussing on new driver safety. Motorists with a learner's licence or a probationary graduated driver's licence (GDL) are often still getting comfortable behind the wheel. The time spent learning the rules of the road is critical for developing safe driving habits and behaviours.
As a new driver, keep the following tips top of mind:
- Carpooling? Do not travel with more passengers than seat belts.
- Get comfy. Adjust your seat, mirrors, navigation, or hands free devices before shifting into drive.
- Sober driving is safe driving. You must have a blood-alcohol level of zero when driving. Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Don't go solo. Driver's with a learner's licence must be accompanied by a fully licenced (non-GDL probationary) individual. The individual must be 18 years of age or older and seated beside the driver (Government of Alberta, 2021).
- Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings and practice defensive driving.
- Make an itinerary. Before heading out on long trips, be sure to communicate your destination and anticipated arrival time with an adult.
- Your ride is your responsibility. Ensure your vehicle is in safe operating condition before hitting the road.
- Be distraction free! Keep your focus where it needs to be – on the road.
"Driving is a complex skill that requires time and practice," says Insp. Chris Romanchych, Alberta RCMP Traffic. "New drivers should understand that with a licence comes a responsibility of following traffic laws and adopting smart driving behaviours. This is not only for their own safety but also the safety of those they are now sharing the road with."
Whether you have little experience behind the wheel or years of driving under your seatbelt, everyone has a role to play in upholding traffic safety.
To learn more about the Government of Alberta's GDL program, visit their website. For traffic safety information, follow us on Facebook @RCMPinAlberta and on Twitter @RCMPAlberta.