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Inside the most common traffic violations and how to avoid them (Commissioned Content)

Even the most careful drivers can slip up and get slapped with a ticket. What are the most common traffic infractions and what can drivers do to avoid those violations? And how do traffic tickets increase your insurance rates?

By far, the most common traffic violation is speeding, says Anne Marie Thomas of, a free online insurance rate comparison service. Her company’s research found speeding was associated with 60 percent of traffic violations tracked across Canada, with the next most common infraction at five percent for various minor tickets.

Why is speeding such a common violation? “It’s the easiest for police to catch,” Thomas says. “Not only do police often set up speed traps to catch drivers, but this is the rule most drivers will bend first, like going 10 kilometres over the limit.”

Thomas estimates around 70 percent of speeding tickets are given to highway drivers, compared with city drivers.

Other common violations fall into the “minor” category, such as rolling past a stop sign, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, obstructing traffic and many more.

The minor ticket often shocking Thomas is failure to produce evidence of insurance. “It boggles my mind people get caught with this. I keep my insurance information in my glove compartment, and I can’t understand why anyone would get hit with a ticket for not doing this simple thing.”

Getting convicted for a minor violation could increase insurance rate premiums by 10 to 20 percent, Thomas says. An important note, she adds: Infractions stay on your driving record for three years from the court date relating to your infraction (if you decide to fight it), not when the incident occurred.

Major infractions carry a much heavier penalty for your driving record and insurance quote. Thomas says serious violations such as drinking and driving and speeding over 60 mph the limit could mean insurance rates soar by as much as 50 percent. A license suspension, resulting from being convicted for drinking while driving, for instance, often strikingly hikes insurance rates, she adds.

Drivers are often concerned by how demerit points will affect insurance rates, but Thomas says points and insurance rates aren’t linked. The points system is processed and designed by the provincial government, and will only affect insurance quotes if the points accumulate to such a degree where your license gets suspended.

So what can drivers to do steer clear of any traffic infractions? Speeding could easily be avoided, Thomas says, by following the rules of the road and being aware of any speed-limit changes.

She also says it’s smart to drive defensively and refrain from getting aggressive on the road. “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” she adds.

Finally, she passes along a tidbit of advice she heard from a friend, and would recommend all drivers plaster this on their dashboard: “Everyone should drive like they have their home address pasted on the top of the car. If everyone knew they could be found, they’d drive a lot safer.”

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