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5 Bad Driving Habits That Could Cost You

Jan. 5, 2022
3 mins
A distracted driver sits behind the wheel of a car and looks down at his phone

Our driving behaviour can have serious consequences for ourselves and other drivers. For instance, a traffic ticket can come with a costly fine and an auto insurance increase — a collision can be much worse.

Avoid the following five bad driving habits to ensure a low car insurance premium and increase road safety overall.

1. Distracted driving

Distracted driving is against the law in Canada, and for good reason. It’s estimated that distracted drivers are three times more likely to be in a collision than attentive drivers.

Distracted driving comes in all forms, not just taking phone calls, texting, or playing with your global positioning system (GPS) while driving. Eating, applying make-up, and shaving behind the wheel also fall under this offence.

A good rule of thumb: if it requires that you take your eyes or attention away from the road, it can wait.

2. Failing to signal

Drivers who signal late or don’t signal at all can confuse other motorists and lead to collisions. A turn signal isn’t just a courtesy; it’s the law. And, in Ontario, drivers who fail to signal can get two demerit points added to their driving record if convicted of the offence.

Using your turn signals is an easy-to-do action that can make a big difference in keeping you, your passengers, and drivers around you safe.

3. Speeding

The posted limit is the maximum speed you should be driving when conditions are ideal, without snow or rain. Therefore, if road conditions are bad, it’s best to slow down.

Driving at lower speeds can also increase fuel efficiency. According to Natural Resources Canada, a vehicle travelling at 120 km/h uses 20% more fuel than at 100 km/h. Slowing down can save you money on gas and help you avoid speeding tickets.

4. Following too closely

Tailgating is an aggressive and risky driving move that can lead you to rear-end the vehicle in front of you.

Instead, keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you using the two-second rule. Maintain a two-second interval from when the car in front of you passes a fixed object until you reach the same thing. However, there is an exception: severe weather. In that case, double the two-second rule.

5. Unsafe lane changes

To change lanes safely, begin by checking your mirrors and blind spots before signalling your intentions. Then steer gradually into the new lane when the coast is clear. Be sure to maintain your speed as people often slow down as they change lanes. Additionally, never cut in front of another vehicle, weave in and out of traffic, or change lanes in or near an intersection. Other drivers won’t anticipate these movements, which can cause a collision.

Safe driving behaviours can pay off when it comes to insurance

Safety comes first, but don’t forget the effect that bad driving traits (and their possible consequences) can have on your car insurance premium. Drivers without tickets or collisions typically pay less for auto insurance — it’s as simple as that.

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The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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