If you’ve been driving for a while, you’ve probably picked up some bad habits. Some are harmless – like singing to yourself when you think no one is watching! But others are costing you money, or putting you and your fellow drivers in danger.
Bad Driving Habits
Take a minute to consider if you’re guilty of one of these five bad driving habits.
1. Texting and driving
We get it – your phone is your lifeline and you get antsy when it’s not in your hands! It’s how you keep in touch with friends, manage your calendar, do your banking, and maybe even watch your favourite television shows. But when you’re behind the wheel, your phone can be a major liability. One person is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour, and if you’re on your phone behind the wheel, you’re four times more likely to crash than a driver focused on the road. Even glancing at your phone while your car is stopped takes your eyes off the road, making it harder for you to respond to your surroundings if needed. If this is a tough habit for you to break, consider keeping your phone in the glove compartment whenever you’re on the road.
You have people to see and places to be – and, of course, you’re running thirty minutes late so you can’t afford to mind the speed limit. Speeding is such a common offense that it might not seem like a big deal, but it’s potentially dangerous and increases your risk of getting a traffic ticket. In certain situations, you’ll see much higher fines and demerit points, such as speeding in a school or construction zone. And in Canada, driving 50 or more kilometres over the posted limit is considered a criminal offense. In addition to the financial and legal consequences that come with a speeding ticket, you also risk raising your insurance premium.
3. Auto-renewing your car insurance
Unlike texting and driving, auto-renewing your car insurance isn’t dangerous – but it could be costing you money. Insurers change their premiums regularly, so the great deal you found last year might not be the best option on the market anymore. On top of that, you might have hit some major milestones this year that could reduce your coverage under the right plan – such as getting married, buying a house, or moving cities. Before it’s time to renew your policy, research your options to see if it’s still the best fit. You can easily compare auto insurance quotes online, making this habit a no-brainer to break.
4. Avoiding routine maintenance
You might think you’re saving money by skipping out on routine maintenance, but you’ll probably end up paying more in the long run if small issues left unchecked become big problems. Your vehicle owner’s manual likely includes a maintenance schedule, so use it to help stay on track. For example, you can extend the life of your tires by regularly checking their air pressure (at least once a month) and rotating them (about every six months). If you’re worried about the cost, do a little research online to teach yourself how to care for your tires on your own. Other routine maintenance must include changing your oil, replacing your air filter, and checking brake and steering fluids.
This is a bad habit you can stop today to save money on gas and be a more environmentally-friendly driver. Natural Resources Canada recommends that you turn off your car if you’re going to be stopped for more than 60 seconds – except when in traffic. The agency also projects that if drivers of light-duty vehicles cut out three minutes of idling a day, Canadians would collectively save 630 million litres of fuel, and $630 million in fuel costs over the course of a year. Many cities have bi-laws against idling, so depending on where you live you could also end up paying a fine if you’re caught sitting with the engine running.
Don’t feel bad if you’re guilty of one (or more!) of these bad driving habits. Instead, resolve to make some changes to your behaviour behind the wheel moving forward so you can be safer on the road and put some money back into your wallet.