Tips & Advice
How to Prevent Vehicle Theft
Although you can not ensure your vehicle will not be stolen you can take a few easy steps to prevent the likelihood of it happening, by making it more difficult for a thief to steal your vehicle and its contents.
- Always lock your vehicle
- Never leave your keys in the vehicle
- Turn off your ignition whenever you leave your car
- Avoid parking on the street
- Conceal items left in your car, keep things in the trunk and never leave money or compact discs in the open
- Whenever possible, park your vehicle in a well-lit, well-guarded, highly visible area
- Ask your neighbours to watch out for your vehicle and do the same for them
- Install an anti-theft deterrent such as car alarms or an ignition disabler.
For tips and more information to help you avoid having your car broken into or stolen please contact the appropriate industry organization in your area.
Vehicle Safety and Maintenance
- Read your vehicle owner’s manual to understand its maintenance needs.
- Maintaining your vehicle according to the manufacturers recommended maintenance schedule will go a long way in extending the life of your vehicle and spotting minor problems before they become major repairs.
- Have your vehicle checked by a qualified mechanic whenever you notice a change in braking or handling.
- Consider taking a recognized driver safety course.
Your brakes are obviously one of the most important components on your automobile. Proper care and regular maintenance is essential to protect both yourself and others from the potential harm caused by faulty brakes. Some signs that your brakes may be failing or require maintenance include:
- The brakes squeal, grind or bang when applied. If this occurs you should immediately have your brakes checked
- The car pulls to one side when you apply the brakes
- The brakes stick or a loss of engine power when you are driving . Your brakes may not be releasing properly which can lead to total brake loss.
- The brakes grab when lightly applied. This could be caused by loose or broken brake parts
- The brakes need a lot of pressure to work or the pedal needs to be near the floor before it works. This may be a sign that your brakes are worn and replacement is necessary
- The brake pedal, steering wheel or entire car vibrates when you step on the brakes
Child Restraint Safety
- It is important to install a child’s restraint seat properly in order for it to be effective.
- Read the manufacturer’s installation instructions thoroughly
- Many police departments have programs to help with proper installation
For tips and information regarding child seat safety please contact the following organizations:
Road safety is an important issue on today’s crowded roadways. For statistics and information regarding road safety and its impact on social and medical costs please contact Transport Canada.
Airbags and Seatbelts
Airbags have been the topic of much discussion since they have become a standard feature with newer automobiles. For information and guidelines pertaining to use and safety issues of air bags please contact the following organizations:
Drinking and Driving
Drinking and driving has been the cause of many unfortunate accidents resulting in serious injuries and loss of life on our roadways. The following organizations can provide statistics and information pertaining to drinking and driving:
Cell Phones and Safety
Cell phones can be valuable equipment in a car when you need to call for assistance. However, they can also be a distraction if they are used while driving, and many jurisdictions are considering restrictions on cell phone use while driving.
For safety’s sake, don’t use your cell phone while driving. If you need to make a call, stop your car safely away from traffic before picking up the phone.
Preparing for Winter Driving
Canadians know that winter driving can be treacherous at the best of times. The following organizations can provide tips and information to help you prepare yourself and your vehicle for safe winter driving.
What to Do When You Are Involved in an Accident
Being involved in an accident can be a very stressful event. To help you protect both yourself and your interests, we have provided some basic hints:
- Call the police immediately, and an ambulance if necessary.
- Do not admit liability.
- Record details of the accident including date, time, location, a description of the accident, any injuries, and any charges laid.
- Record details concerning the other party and vehicle such as owner’s name and address, phone number, and vehicle year, make and model.
- It is very important to obtain the insurance information of the other driver. This includes the name of the insurance company and the policy number and the name of the broker or agent.
- Obtain a copy of the police report from the attending officer as this will have the accident report number for future reference.
These tips are general rules of thumb only, and may not fit all situations. For the definitive word, contact your insurance broker for more information.
Safe Driving Quiz
Are you a safe driver? Why not test your skill and knowledge by taking one of the “Safe Driving Quizzes” provided by the Canada Safety Council.
Crime Prevention Tips
Burglary is always a crime of opportunity. Here are some interesting facts you should know about burglary:
- Studies show that most burglars attack during the daytime when dense bushes and trees protect them from view, and the building appears unoccupied
- One-third of burglars enter from the basement
- One-third of burglars force entry through a window or door
- One-third of burglars gain access from an unlocked/open door or window
To best protect your home, look at it from a burglar’s perspective. What are the vulnerable parts? If you take a few simple and inexpensive steps to make sure your home is not an attractive target, you’ll greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
The following are some tips to help you prevent a burglar from entering your home:
Tips for Inside your Home
The goal of indoor crime proofing is to secure your premises, and to make them appear occupied at all times. Here are a few simple tips:
- Secure your premises.
- Close blinds and curtains at night so that a burglar can’t scope your belongings.
- Lock all doors and windows before leaving.
- Lock windows so that they can’t be opened from the outside. If they can’t be locked, you can pin them by drilling a hole through both window frames and inserting a bolt or metal pin. The pin must be easily removable for emergency situations.
- Home burglar alarm systems are a great deterrent. Even if you have an alarm system, don’t neglect the other security measures available to you. An alarm provides an extra layer of security, but is no replacement for good common sense. Alarm owners should still do what they can to make sure their home is not an attractive target for thieves.
- Make your home look occupied at all times.
- Use timers to maintain normal lighting patterns.
- Leave a radio on when you are away from your home for short periods of time.
- Protect your valuables.
- Consider marking your valuables indelibly (engraved) with your drivers licence or social insurance number.
- Take an inventory of your home with a videotape and/or photographs.
- Keep jewellery and negotiables in a safety deposit box or an unlikely place (i.e. Not your bedroom).
Tips for Outside Your Home
There are many things that you can do to the exterior of your house or in the yard to deter burglars and make it more difficult to force entry.
- Keep your shrubbery cut back so that it doesn’t block windows and doors.
- Secure window air conditioners from the inside.
- Illuminate as much of your property as possible.
- Exterior doors should be solid, not hollow. Metal doors provide the best protection against forced entry.
- Use a fencing style that would not conceal a burglar’s activities. Remember if you can’t see out, others can’t see in.
- Secure any glass that is less than 4′ from a door lock. Either coat exterior glass with an acrylic or polycarbonate to strengthen, or replace with laminated or tempered glass.
- Door hinges that are on the outside should have a non-removable center pin that can’t be tampered with.
- Install deadbolt locks.
- Dogs are great deterrents to burglars. Even a strategically placed “Beware of Dog” sticker can make a burglar think twice. Of course, vicious dogs are never a good idea. If your dog bites someone, you might find yourself in court. A dog that barks is better than one that bites.
- Place hinged security bars over basement windows. Remember to keep the key nearby for emergency exits.
- Pin sliding patio doors together when closed. Another easy security step is to drill a hole in the upper track and insert a screw that extends out into the runner to prevent the door from being lifted up and out of its track.
- Ensure that a burglar cannot access the roof from high trees or a ladder left outside.
What NOT to Do
- Don’t put up a nameplate outside of your house with your full name. A burglar can use this information to look up your number in the phone book and call to see if you are home.
- Don’t leave a note on the door or in the mailbox telling a friend/family member that you aren’t home.
- Don’t leave spare keys in an obvious place such as the mailbox or under the front door mat. This makes it very easy for a burglar to rob your house quickly without forcing entry.
- Don’t leave cash and handbags in view in your home.
- Don’t leave any doors unlocked when you are at the other end of the house or in the yard.
Going on Vacation
If you are going on vacation it is especially important to make your home appear inhabited. To fully protect your home you will need to enlist the help of trusted neighbours, family and friends. Here are some things that you can do:
- Stop all mail delivery.
- Arrange for a neighbour to cut the grass or shovel snow.
- Cancel all deliveries during the time you will be away.
- Maintain normal lighting patterns by using electronic timers.
- Ask a neighbour to put one of their garbage bags in front of your house on collection day.
- Leave a radio on, with a timer if necessary to simulate normal use.
- Ask a neighbour to park in your driveway.
- Arrange for neighbours to pick up flyers.
- Don’t talk about your vacation plans with strangers or service people.
- Use your work address on your luggage tags so a potential burglar won’t know where your empty house is.
- If practical, remove valuables from your home. Small valuables should be stored in a safety deposit box.
- Lock garage door.
Note: Before you leave, you should tell someone you trust:
- That you will be away
- How long you will be absent
- Whether or not you will have a house sitter
- The number where you can be reached
What to Do if Your House is Broken Into
Despite your best efforts, a burglar may still penetrate your home. If you return to find that your house has been robbed:
- Don’t stay – Always think of your safety first
- Never confront a burglar or block the exit route
- Go immediately to a neighbour’s home or nearby location and phone the police