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Tip of the Month: Change Your Habits, Lower Your Rates

March 18, 2013

texting while drivingEveryone likes to think they are a good driver, but most of us have a bad habit or two that puts us at a higher risk for a ticket or for an accident. Getting rid of bad habits behind the wheel not only makes Canada’s roads safer for everyone, but it can help make sure your car insurance quotes and rates stay lower.

Canada’s Worst Driving Habits

There are many bad habits a driver can have, but there are a few that seem to be more common than the others – and sadly they are also some of the most dangerous.

One of the worst bad habits you can have on the road is also the top pet peeve of other Canadian drivers: talking or texting while you are on the road. Although it is now illegal in every province to do either of these things while you are driving, and comes with a ticket, it’s still all too common on the road. Talking and texting are very dangerous habits, and result in many crashes every year. Whether you wind up with a ticket or in an accident, your insurance rates could go up as a result.

Tailgating is another bad habit that Canadians lists one of the most annoying on the road. If you’re a habitual tailgater, you are taking a pretty serious risk. Rear-end collisions can be dangerous, and if you’re the one hitting another car from behind you will be found at fault no matter what the extenuating circumstances. That means an increase on your car insurance rates.

The Habits Drivers Admit To

While there are many bad habits that other drivers may notice, the ones that most drivers actually admit to are different – but equally dangerous. Speeding is top among them.

Most drivers will admit to going over the speed limit either occasionally or on a regular basis, and most people don’t think it’s a big deal. This bad habit, however, increases your odds of being involved in an accident. The faster you are moving, the longer it will take to stop. So if you have to brake suddenly, your stopping distance will be reduced by higher speed and the likelihood of a crash increased. Speeding is also one of the most common traffic violations on Canadian roads; and those tickets mean increased insurance rates.

Canadian drivers also readily admit to eating or drinking while driving. This habit has become so entrenched that many people don’t even see it as a bad habit. But that travel mug full of your morning coffee is a dangerous distraction while you are on the road. Everything that a driver is doing to distract from driving means a greater chance of an accident, and eating and drinking can both be very distracting.

Running red lights is another habit drivers admit to but often don’t see as much of a problem. It’s become something of a challenge to see if you can beat the light, but taking on that challenge is a very bad habit. Running that light is unlikely to get you where you are going much faster, but it could get you a ticket, an accident, and increased auto insurance rates.

Breaking Bad Habits

Breaking your bad habits isn’t easy, but it’s important to keep you and everyone else on the road safer – and to help you keep your insurance costs down. Every driver has bas habits, so it’s important to make yourself aware of yours. Start with these common bad habits and watch for them in your own driving. Once you are aware of them, you can try to eliminate them.

Taking temptation away is one way to help break certain bad habits. Keep your phone well out of your reach while you are driving so you won’t be tempted to answer it, and don’t bring food along until it’s packaged up and intended for eating on arrival.

Other habits may take some attention to break. Keep an eye on your speed, and when you see a light turning red, choose to slow and stop rather than challenging yourself to beat it.

Breaking your bad habits does take some effort, but in the long run it means you will be a better, safer driver; and safer drivers get the best insurance quotes and rates. Getting rid of those bad habits will save you money in the long run while reducing your odds of an accident.

  • aqrs69

    If you speed, at least avoid the speed traps that cops love because they can catch the most for the least effort (and have time to get doughnuts): at the end of a bridge or at the bottom of a hill.

  • Rob

    You forgot one of the BIG ones!! 4 way stop signs have proliferated to the point that they have destroyed the meaning of coming to a full stop at one of the red octagons. People treat them as yield signs (maybe) or ignore them altogether if they don’t think they see anyone coming from the side. This carries over to “plain vanilla” 2-way stops signs with sometimes disastrous results as we all know. You might want to add somethng about this to your otherwise well-written article.

    Regards, Rob

  • Rob

    You forgot one of the BIG ones!! 4 way stop signs have proliferated to the point that they have destroyed the meaning of coming to a full stop at one of the red octagons. People treat them as yield signs (maybe) or ignore them altogether if they don’t think they see anyone coming from the side. This carries over to “plain vanilla” 2-way stops signs with sometimes disastrous results as we all know. You might want to add somethng about this to your otherwise well-written article.

    Regards, Rob

  • InsuranceHotline

    Great point, Rob! We try to include as much info as we can in our articles, but it can be hard with so much to cover. Thanks for bringing up this bad driving habit!

  • InsuranceHotline

    Great point, Rob! We try to include as much info as we can in our articles, but it can be hard with so much to cover. Thanks for bringing up this bad driving habit!

  • Arthur

    Thanks for the great tips!!

  • Arthur

    Thanks for the great tips!!

  • Brew

    Municipalities are really screwing up putting in all of those four way stops. People just go faster between them. They waist a lot of gas and create more noise. Some of them are warranted but most are not.