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Expensive Errors: Five Costly Driving Habits

April 3, 2012

Most drivers are guilty of at least one bad habit behind the wheel whether they are aware of it or not. Unfortunately, those bad habits that have become so ingrained you don’t really think about them can turn out to be seriously costly mistakes. These five bad habits are bound to cost you money in the long run – whether from fines, insurance rate increases or often both.

Electronic Distractions

Your phone chirps and you can’t help but look down to see what the text message is, or you think of something you need your spouse to do and pick up the phone to make a quick call. Today’s phones provide a myriad of distractions to drivers. These actions, while they seem benign, can be very serious. First of all, it is now illegal in all Canadian provinces to use your cell phone while you’re behind the wheel. The fines associated with being caught can be costly. On top of that, a ticket could mean an insurance rate increase that will cost you for several years.

And that’s not all. Distracted driving due to electronics leads to an increased risk of an accident, the cost of which could be more than monetary if a serious injury or fatality results. Stash your phone where you can’t reach it while you are driving to avoid the temptation and help break this costly bad habit.

Road Rage

If you get angry when someone cuts you off, drives too slowly in front of you or any other irritating road behaviour, you are not alone. Unfortunately, you are also not a safe driver. Road rage causes drivers to lose their better judgment and make rash driving decisions that can result in serious accidents. It can also cause you to wind up with a ticket, while that person you were so upset with drives away, oblivious.

Keeping your temper under control while driving is vital to keeping the roads safe – and to keeping your car insurance rates down. An accident you cause because you were angry will wind up on your record, raising your rates.

Drinking and Driving

You might think one or two drinks is no big deal before you drive, but the law won’t see it that way. If you are caught with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, you will find yourself in big trouble – both legal and financial. A DUI on your record will cost you a lot on your insurance in addition to fines you may have to pay.

Even drivers who think they are ok after a drink or two can have reduced reaction times and judgment, resulting in serious accidents. You could injure someone, or even worse cause a fatal accident. And if you are found to have been driving under the influence when an accident happened, the cost will be much higher for you.

Tailgating

Of all the bad habits of drivers, this is one that is most likely to see you wind up in an at fault accident. In almost all situations, a driver who strikes another car from behind will be found at fault for the accident. Which means you’ll be seeing an increase on your insurance rates at some point if you don’t stop this bad habit, since tailgating is the top cause of rear-end collisions.

It’s also illegal, which means you could be pulled over and given a ticket for it. The ticket will increase your rates and you’ll also have to pay a fine. A few more feet between you and the car in front of you could save you a lot of money.

Speeding

This is among the most common traffic violations. It’s also one of the leading causes of collisions. Speeding is a bad habit of far too many drivers, and the faster you go, the higher the cost becomes. In some provinces, speeding fines for going more than a set amount over the speed limit are in the thousands of dollars. And that doesn’t count the extra you will pay on your car insurance for the ticket on your record.

If you cause an accident due to excess speed, you will be found at fault and charged higher insurance rates. Sticking to the speed limit seems to be the hardest bad habit for drivers to break – but the cost both financial and in the lives lost to fatal collisions is too high not to make an effort. Slow down and you can save lives and a lot of cash too.

The best way to avoid the high cost of these bad habits is to break them before they get you in trouble. But if you have already been involved in an accident or received a ticket, you can still limit the financial damage. Shop around for your insurance rate; not all companies charge the same rate for drivers with tickets and accidents. Just be sure to learn the lesson and stop that bad habit in the future, so you won’t be stuck paying high rates forever.

  • Arpad Dobri

    If you want to save money , cancel your driver licence , ride a bike !! A car is a money eating machine , & magnet for problems !!!