The true cost of aggressive behaviour while driving extends far beyond immediate dangers on the road, according to insurance broker and LowestRates.ca expert Steven Harris.
In an emailed news release, Harris warned of the financial repercussions drivers may face in the aftermath of a road rage incident and said having a dangerous driving charge may lead to significant increases in insurance premiums.
“From an insurance perspective, a dangerous driving charge is a criminal conviction, which means your insurance premium would skyrocket and stay high for at least three years,” he said.
According to Harris, tickets are ratable for three years from the conviction date, and the surcharge varies among insurers. For minor convictions like speeding, improper lane changes, or following too closely, the first conviction typically adds a 5% surcharge, while the second leads to a 20% increase. Each additional conviction also incurs a 10% surcharge.
As for major convictions, insurers typically impose up to 25% surcharge, Harris said. Serious or criminal convictions may also see up to a 100% surcharge for each.
Moreover, if a driver accumulates three or more convictions, they may find themselves eligible only for non-standard insurance, often accompanied by exorbitant premiums.
A run by LowestRates.ca found that the lowest rate available for a 35-year-old male in downtown Toronto driving a 2022 Honda Civic went up 327% following a dangerous driving conviction within the last three years.
In Ontario, the government categorizes aggressive driving and road rage as tailgating, speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, and cutting in front of others too closely.
Considering these consequences, Harris urged drivers to be mindful of their emotional states while on the road.
Earlier this year, psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt spoke to Global News about the factors behind the increasing prevalence of road rage incidents in Canada.
“We do know that distracted driving has gone up and that tends to frustrate other drivers and frustration goes hand in hand with aggression, so you could see how this could spill over,” said Vaillancourt, who serves as president of the International Society for Research on Aggression.
Last April, Travelers Canada reported an increase in crashes caused by distracted driving. According to its 2023 Distracted Driving Survey, 30% of respondents admitted to being involved in an accident due to their distraction, up 50% from the previous year. Additionally, 25% reported a “near miss” because they were distracted, which is a 56% jump from last year.
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