Getting a traffic ticket is never a good thing; you’ll have to pay a fine and may see an increase on your insurance rates. But there are some traffic tickets that are especially important to avoid – they come with hefty fines as well as some of the biggest insurance increases. Change your driving habits so you don’t wind up with one of these top 10 tickets.
1. Speeding in a school zone.
Going over the speed limit is always a bad idea, but in a school zone it is seen as more serious because it endangers the lives of children. This is considered a major offence and will come with a higher fine and likely a greater insurance increase.
2. Driving while impaired
One of the more serious offences on the road, driving while impaired is a big ticket, can result in criminal prosecution depending on the situation, and will have a very negative impact on your insurance rates. More than one impaired driving ticket can even result in being classified as a high-risk driver or loss of your driver’s license. This ticket is very easy to avoid; simply don’t drink and drive.
3. Passing a school bus with red lights flashing
It’s the law that you must stop when you see a school bus with its red lights flashing. When you see the amber lights flash, slow down and prepare to stop. Passing a school bus improperly is a major offence and will mean a big increase in your insurance rates.
4. Speeding more than 50 km/h over the speed limit
Speeding is always a sure way to get a ticket, but when you are caught going well over the speed limit – 50 km/h or more in most jurisdictions, although it can vary – you are facing a serious offence that will cost you a lot more.
5. Careless driving
This may be one of the easiest traffic tickets to fight in court and win, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one you should worry about. If you fail to beat the ticket you will pay a large fine as well as see a big increase on your car insurance. Driving carefully at all times is the best way to avoid a careless driving ticket.
6. Driving while uninsured
Not only is this a big ticket, it’s a red flag to insurance companies that you don’t take your financial responsibilities seriously. Insurance companies may quote you higher rates when you are shopping around for coverage after you’ve gotten a ticket for driving without it.
7. Using a cell phone while driving
This is one of the newer laws on the books across Canada, and one of the rules of the road most easily disregarded. But put that phone down; it’s a big fine to get caught talking or texting without a hands-free device, and it will hurt your insurance rates too.
8. Graduated license restrictions violations
When you are in the graduated license program you may not be paying for your own insurance yet, so you might not think about what a ticket can do to rates. When you violate the terms of your current license status, you will not only face the ticket and the resulting actions in terms of your license including possible suspension, but you will also see higher insurance rates when the time comes to put your name on a policy.
9. Speeding in a construction zone
Police have really been cracking down on this big problem, and you will find the ticket is higher when you get caught going too fast in a construction zone. Slow down when you see the signs and cones ahead, and avoid a ticket as well as an insurance rate hike.
10. Failure or refusal to take a breathalyzer
Failing to or refusing a breathalyzer is almost as serious as getting a DUI ticket, and it will seriously hurt your wallet as well as leading to potential criminal charges. Always cooperate with the police when you are pulled over – and drive sober so you have no reason to fear the breathalyzer.
Remember that traffic tickets stay on your driving record for three years from the date of conviction. That could potentially mean higher car insurance quotes for three years. Drive safe and be mindful of the above violations.