2016 New rules of the road you need to know

It may not be the start of 2016 anymore but the new laws on the road in Ontario are still in effect.

As of Jan. 1, all private insurance companies were required to offer discounts to drivers who are buying and installing winter tires. It is important that the tires have either a peak mountain or snowflake logo on them, are installed on all four wheels and are the same tread pattern and size.

 

Last year, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation presented a number of new laws that included severe fines for texting and driving as well as other behaviours, in its “Making Ontario Roads Safer Act.” These fines are still in place but now include staying stationary when people are crossing the street in clearly distinguished zones.

In the past, drivers we allowed to pass crossovers and school crossings as long as the pedestrians weren’t in the vehicle’s direct path. As of this year, drivers (including cyclists) will have to yield the entire road to pedestrians and have to wait until pedestrians have crossed the road entirely before proceeding. These rules apply at apply at pedestrian crossovers identified with road markings, specific signs and lights. They do not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school crossing guard is on duty.

Failure to abide this law could result in fines from $150 to $500 and three demerit points, or double that in Community Safety Zones, which are marked and located near schools and public areas. 

Although there appear to be fewer on the street due to the winter weather, a new law to keep in mind revolves around cyclists. In the fall, rules required motorists to leave at least one metre of room for cyclists on the road. Also, drivers who swing open their car door without looking for bikers will face fines that range between $300 and $1,000. 

But it’s not just rules that are changing, some fees have increased in 2016 as well. A full outline of these fees is available online.

It is important to abide by these new laws as both a driver and pedestrian. Here are a few tips to keep you safe on the road: 

Pedestrians

  • Only cross the road at marked crosswalks or traffic lights
  • Make eye contact with the driver before you cross the street          

Drivers

  • Drive slowly and cautiously through residential areas, school zones and other areas that children could be playing
  • Stay alert for Community Safety Zone signs that indicate areas where public safety is a significant concern

It’s wise to be prepared and aware of these new rules and regulations while driving the roads this year. If you’ve been in an accident, contact us to discuss the particulars of your accident and how we can help maximize your compensation.