Friday, June 9, 2023
News Canada’s Road Safety Week Highlights Good Driving Habits With a Real Pro

Canada’s Road Safety Week Highlights Good Driving Habits With a Real Pro

Famed Canadian racing driver and instructor, Philippe Létourneau, shares valuable tips

  • New cars are loaded with passive and active safety systems, but the driver is still in charge.

  • Roughly 160,000 car accidents occur every year in Canada.

If you’re a motorsports fan, a weekend track hero, or a fan of Canada’s Worst Driver, you know Mr. Philippe Létourneau. Phillippe’s extensive experience as a race car driver, high-performance driving instructor, and father make him one of the best sources for all things driving. He and Chevrolet have teamed up to share some knowledge in support of Canada’s Road Safety Week.

Philippe Létourneau | Photo: MSL Group

Most of us describe ourselves as good drivers. The fact of the matter is that every year in Canada, roughly 160,000 car accidents occur. That works to approximately 439 accidents every day.

A survey conducted by Car Gurus last year found that 70% of drivers believed driving assistance features make traveling by car safer. Canadians are more interested in technologies that help them keep control while driving in contrast to technologies that allow the vehicle to take control.

Distracted and aggressive driving are among the main road safety threats in Canada. Most modern vehicles, including Chevrolet products, are sold with advanced safety technologies which are designed to help drivers limit distracted driving, help reduce insurance premiums and help teen drivers stay alert and safe.

Many of us still drive cars that are not equipped with active safety features that may help avoid collisions. Even so, the vast majority of our family and daily vehicles are fitted with ABS brakes and traction control.

2013 Audi S5 crash | Photo: Connecticut State Police / Facebook)

Most of Philippe’s tips seem obvious but the fact of the matter is that most of us need to be reminded on a regular basis. Over the years, we develop bad habits or become overconfident in our abilities. The following four tips are worth a read and need to be committed to memory as they can mean the difference between a near-miss and an accident.

  • Tip #1: Driving position – Sit close to the steering wheel to maximize control. NASCAR drivers sit very close to the wheel because the closer you are to the wheel, the easier it is to maneuver your vehicle. Position your seat close enough so you can comfortably operate the steering wheel, brake, and gas pedals properly.
  • Tip #2: Wear your seat belt correctly – The simple mechanism of wearing a seat belt correctly can save your life in an accident if worn correctly. Ensure you fasten the lap and shoulder belts tight across your body.
  • Tip #3: Know your brakes – The anti-lock brake system (ABS) allows you to brake hard and steer without locking up the wheels. This is a sensation that most people are not familiar with. Remember, this system is not failsafe, so please always stay alert.

The best tip, the one that serves all experienced performance drivers, is: ‘’Look where you want to go.’’ Once more, this seems obvious but here’s a piece of data that Philippe wants us to think about: “[…] 80% of all accidents could be avoided if a driver had one more second to react to the impending collision. In this case, it’s important to be proactive, not reactive as a driver. I recommend that every driver look 500 meters ahead on highways and 2 blocks ahead on a city street. This way, you will get a feel for the traffic pattern, and you will be able to recognize any potential problems.”

Passive and active safety features, including Philippe’s favorite, Slide Blind Zone Alert, help reduce accidents however the driver is still in charge. That is, at least until autonomous driving technologies such as GM’s SuperCruise take over completely. Until then, look ahead, be mindful, and sit straight like your mom used to say.

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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