With the holiday season here, the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (R.I.D.E.) program will be taking to Canada's streets and highways once again. While R.I.D.E. is primarily aimed at keeping impaired drivers off the road, there are important points about the program that you'll want to keep in mind when getting behind the wheel this season. Being prepared and cooperative can help you avoid getting a fine.The R.I.D.E. program is in effect all day, every day, and usually runs until January 2. The program is active morning, noon and night. Remember that whether you're having a festive drink at lunch with your co-workers, or dinner and drinks during an evening out with friends, you may be stopped at a spot check. The penalty in the Province of Ontario for drivers who register a warning (a blood-alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08) is now a minimum three-day driving suspension. Don't take the chance of having your licence suspended - if you know you are going to consume alcohol, take a cab or secure a designated driver before going out. The police officers that take part in R.I.D.E roadside checks may ask to see your licence, vehicle ownership and proof of insurance. Make sure that you have these documents (except your licence, which you should have on you at all times) in your car's glove box at all times, and that all your documentation is up to date. Doing so may save you from getting a fine. Know that if you are driving uninsured, you could be looking at a fine of $5,000. Also, make sure that you and your passengers are wearing seatbelts at all times. It's in your best interest to always drive safe. In addition to the safety risks, you could be charged with a violation if you and/or your passengers are not buckled up. In the Province of Ontario, the penalty is a fine plus two demerit points for each person in the vehicle. Those two tickets alone could have a dramatic effect on your insurance rate. If you do get pulled over by a R.I.D.E. program, remember to stay calm, co-operate fully with the police and ensure your passengers also act responsibly and courteously. Before you hit the road this holiday season, play it safe - don't drink and drive. Not only will you protect yourself and other drivers, but you'll also keep your insurance rates safe, too.
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