As a responsible driver in Ontario, it is important to understand that there are different restrictions and requirements for every type of license that you obtain. Each one is specially designed to keep you safe in the particular vehicle that you are operating. The G1 license varies from other licenses in several different ways. It is important to understand these variations in order to obtain the license and keep it validated over time. Failure to do so can easily result in losing your license completely.
One Step Towards Freedom
The G1 license is an intermediate step to acquiring a full license. These are common for first-time drivers or drivers who have not had a license for an extended period of time. The G1 has six basic requirements that restrict the type of driving that individuals can perform during the waiting period between their G1 and G2 certification. This waiting period is typically an average of 12 months. However, some drivers are able to shorten this time to eight months by successfully completing provincial driving courses from state-accredited institutions.
Freedom Requires Boundaries
G1 licenses do not allow drivers to operate a vehicle between the hours of midnight and five in the morning, and they are restricted from driving on any 400-series highway. As with most licenses, a G1 driver cannot carry passengers that exceed the number of safety belts present in the vehicle. Without exception, G1 drivers must maintain a zero blood-alcohol level. A fully licensed driver who has a minimum of four years driving experience must always be in the car with the G1 participant. Additionally, the more experienced driver must have a blood-alcohol level below .05. The older, experienced driver must always be the only passenger seated in the front of the vehicle as well.
What To Expect
Before anyone is granted a G1 license, they must first pass a vision and written knowledge test in order to ensure they can adhere to the rules of the road. Although this license gives you the ability to drive a car under supervision, this does not allow you to purchase insurance because you are yet to be fully licensed. However, there is no law restricting an individual from purchasing a vehicle while holding a G1 license, insured or not. Another common question to arise regarding this license is related to the point system. Drivers holding a G1 certification are still subject to this system. They can have six points applied against them before the license will be put under suspension. Any points that are applied to your license will also remain on your permanent license for a total of two years after the offense. These points have the ability to dramatically increase the insurance costs of any new driver.
Parents and guardians of people operating with a G1 license need to notify their insurance company of the situation. In general, there is no additional charge for extending coverage to this driver. However, the moment the driver graduates to a G2 license, they will need to be independently insured, meaning that they will need to be added to the existing policy or take out their own personal policy in order to drive legally.
In most states, people must purchase at least bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. Drivers who follow the laws of their state and purchase this coverage have a sum of money that will be designated toward paying medical bills and property repair bills of those that they hit. Liability coverage only applies toward third party bills and not the person who caused the collision. What about when the law-abiding policyholder is not at fault?
In tort states, the person who caused the collision will be determined so that person and his or her insurance company can take financial responsibility for the injured parties’ bills. If the at-fault driver has purchased the coverage that the state mandated in at least the minimum amounts, he or she will be prepared to meet these expenses. Sometimes, people do not follow their states’ laws.
When people are struggling financially, they decide to make a fatal decision: They decrease their auto insurance coverage, or they decide to let it lapse. The result may be that they do not have enough insurance to cover the bills after they have caused a collision. If they no longer have insurance, they may not be able to contribute to the bills at all.
Why Underinsured Motorist Coverage Is Critical
Uninsured-Underinsured Motorist coverage is critical because there are a certain number of people driving uninsured in every state. If a driver is hit by someone who purchased the required coverage, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay the medical bills in the required limits. For example, a state may require that every driver purchase bodily injury liability in the amount of $25,000. This means that one person will file a claim for the bodily injury liability insurance, and the policy must have at least $25,000 to cover this person’s medical bills.
It may be the case that one person obtained such devastating injuries that it requires more than $25,000 to cover these bills. However, the auto insurance company would not be required to pay after the $25,000 limit has been reached. The injured party would have no choice but to go to the at-fault driver for payment, but this driver may be unable to cover the extra expenses.
After the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company is relieved of its duty of paying the injured party’s medical bills, this person will file a claim with his or her own insurance company for the Underinsured Motorist coverage.
It can also be the case that more than one person is injured in a car crash. Auto insurance packages are required to have a particular sum of money for everyone who was hurt in the collision. For example, if the amount required for one person is $25,000, the package must have at least $50,000 for everyone hurt in the crash. If there are three injured people, one scenario could be that the first two people will receive the entire $50,000 for their injuries.
A third, fourth or fifth person who was also injured will not be able to receive any money for medical bills because the insurance company was only required to pay medical expenses in the amount of $50,000. The third, fourth and fifth injured parties can all look to the at-fault driver for payment, but this option may not offer them any relief.
Underinsured Motorist coverage applies in this scenario as well. Once the underinsured motorist’s coverage runs out, those with Underinsured Motorist coverage will have the money they need to pay their medical bills.
Why Uninsured Motorist Coverage Is Critical
A policyholder who is hit by someone without auto insurance or a hit-and-run driver will not be able to go to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The injured parties can sue the at-fault, but this may or may not result in their medical bills being paid. Those who purchase Uninsured Motorist coverage will file a claim with their own auto insurance companies and receive payment for their medical bills and their property repair bills.
The importance of Uninsured-Underinsured Motorist coverage is clear. After being hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, those who are hurt may be the only ones paying for their medical care and to have their vehicles repaired. This can amount to more money than these people can afford to pay, but their Uninsured-Underinsured Motorist coverage will be there to help them.
When it comes to preparing our cars for travel, we often ensure that we have manuals, relevant documents and items for dealing with ice and snow. In most cases, however, people neglect to include a first aid kit in their glove boxes. While the likelihood of needing a first aid kit is low, situations arrive every day where a first aid kit is able to help us deal with emergencies. Here are some the reasons why you will want to keep a first aid kit in your car.
– Help is not always close by
We often think that paramedics will arrive shortly after a crash. In reality, however, there are number of reasons why it might take emergency responders much longer to arrive than is ideal. Without a first aid kit, your options for dealing with injuries are minimal. In some cases, the first minutes after an injury are the most important; ensure that you are prepared to help yourself and your passengers.
– Parts of Canada are isolated
While cell phone coverage is improving every year, many long stretches of road in Canada are not covered. In addition, cell phone batteries sometimes fail, and an accident may render you unconscious for certain period of time. Having a first aid kit on hand will allow you to deal with injuries even if you cannot contact emergency responders.
– Be a good citizen
Almost all drivers will eventually come across an accident, and those who have a first aid kit will be prepared to offer assistance to anyone who has been injured. In remote regions of Canada, you may be the only person able to help in certain situations. Carrying a first aid kit allows you to be a good citizen and help your fellow drivers.
- Not all injuries are sustained on the road
When you have a first aid kit in your car, you can provide assistance as long as your car is nearby. Carrying a first aid kit on your person is unreasonable, but having one in your parked car allows you to help yourself or others who have been injured at an event. Again, it should be noted that first responders cannot always arrived promptly; first aid kits allow you to provide aid before professionals arrive.
– Minor injuries can be a nuisance
Not all injuries are particularly dangerous, but a simple cut can be a major nuisance if you do not have a bandage nearby. Further, allergies can strike at the most inopportune times; first aid kits often contain products that can help you deal with allergies while on the road. First aid kits are toolboxes, and they can help you with a wide variety of symptoms.
Unfortunately, accidents are still a leading cause of death in Canada and throughout the world. While cars have become safer through the years, many people die of injuries sustained in accidents. While a first aid kit may not be able to save a life, it does give you a chance to help yourself or others who have been involved in an accident. First aid kits are small and affordable, so ensure that you are prepared.
Mark Twain allegedly said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Had he lived today, Twain might have been talking about car insurance. Despite easy access to accurate information online, there remain numerous misconceptions about buying insurance coverage; which factors influence rates; and what happens after a claim is submitted. Some bits of fiction taken as truth may prevent you from finding the lowest rates on the coverages you need.
Below, we’ll clarify six fallacies that many people continue to believe about auto insurance. Along the way, you’ll develop a clearer perspective regarding how your coverages work, and the best ways to lower your premiums.
#1 – The Police Have The Final Word On Fault
Suppose you are involved in an accident, and the police officer who arrives on the scene decides to refrain from charging you with a crime. As he leaves, he assures you that, given the circumstances, you were not at fault for the collision. It’s tempting to believe him.
In fact, the police officer can only make that determination in the context of whether to charge you. Your insurer actually makes the final decision about whether you were to blame.
#2 – The Higher A Car’s MSRP, The More It Costs To Insure
Suppose you are considering purchasing a vehicle, and have narrowed your choices to two models. One has a sticker price of $30,000 while the other is priced at $34,000. The latter car’s higher MSRP might cause you to think it is more costly to insure. In reality, this may not be the case.
A large percentage of insurance companies rely upon the Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) system. This system helps insurers forecast the likelihood of claims. Cars are assigned grades that reflect past claims made for the same make, model, and year. Vehicles associated with frequent and expensive claims in the past may be more costly to insure than others, regardless of MSRPs.
#3 – My Insurer Will Cover Me If My Vehicle Is Vandalized
Maybe. Some auto insurance coverages, such as accident benefits and third-party liability, are mandatory. You must have them in order to drive legally. But these and other mandatory coverages do not cover vandalism. If you have the minimum level of insurance mandated by your province, and your vehicle is vandalized, you are unlikely to receive compensation.
Vandalism is covered by comprehensive coverage. It is optional and expensive, and thus many people choose to forgo it.
#4 – Coverage For Red Cars Is More Expensive
This fallacy has proven to be surprisingly resilient over the years. Driving a red vehicle will not result in higher rates than driving a blue vehicle, assuming all other variables remain the same. The colour of your car has nothing to do with your premiums.
Your insurer uses numerous factors when calculating your rates. It considers your driving history, the type of vehicle you drive (as noted earlier), your living address, and your coverages and deductibles. One factor that is excluded is the colour of your car. From your insurer’s point of view, colour has little, if any, predictive value of future claims.
#5 – All Types Of Tickets Will Cause My Rates To Increase
Some violations – such as parking your vehicle improperly – will result in a ticket that has no effect on your auto insurance rates. Even if you “forget” to pay it, the ticket will not cause your premiums to rise. Other violations, such as speeding, will result in a ticket that might impact your rates. A lot depends on your insurer and how they view it in light of your driving record.
For example, if your record is littered with speeding tickets and you are caught doubling the posted speed limit, you can expect an increase. On the other hand, if your record is clean and you were driving 10 mph above the limit, it is unlikely to have an effect.
#6 – Car Insurance Rates Are The Same Everywhere
The opposite is true; rates always vary between companies. In many cases, the difference can be measured in the hundreds of dollars per year for an identical set of coverages and deductibles. Unless you take the time to compare quotes among several insurers, you’re unlikely find the lowest-priced package.
The six items above represent a small sample of the many myths that persist about car insurance. Avoid them to gain a better grasp of how to lower your rates, and keep them low year after year.
Cell phones take attention away from driving, to the point that some states won’t let you use anything but a hands-free device in your car. But are cell phones the only problem? Not according to some of the latest research. Your attention can be pulled from the road by:
- Cell phones
- GPS devices
- Paper maps
- Talking to Passengers
- Sleepy or Overly Tired Drivers
- Intoxicated or “Buzzed” Drivers
- Angry Drivers
- Any Attention Shift Away from Driving Itself
Federal agencies would like to outlaw using cell phones at all in a vehicle, even if you have hands-free devices. Even people who tend to obey non-texting laws while moving can be seen texting or playing a game on their phone as soon as they reach a red light.
It may be too late to try to pull drivers totally away from their cell phones, including the use of hands-free devices. Virtually every driver has a phone, and your attention is naturally pulled to answer it when it rings or vibrates. The state laws in effect now that prohibit texting and all but hands-free talking are not strictly enforced in many states.
It’s Not Just Cell Phones
Over 3000 fatalities on US roads in 2010 were related to drivers who were distracted in some way. So, should GPS units be banned, too? Many people attempt to program these units while they are driving. And, given that the current laws are not enforced well enough, would more laws help? And even if they did, paper maps or written directions are more dangerous to use, arguably, than GPS units.
Factory-installed radios can pull a driver’s attention away from the road, and it only takes a second or two to possibly cause a catastrophic accident. Changing stations or CD’s can take your attention away for that long, easily. When you do this, you also divert your focus from far-off to close-up, and it takes time to get your focus back, when you look up again.
Driving while dining has been a problem for a long time. Even those people who do it all the time will be especially distracted if something falls off the sandwich, wrap or other item they are eating. Business people will be worried that their clothes will get stained, but even if that’s not a concern, it’s a natural reaction to try to grab whatever has fallen off.
Likewise, when you are talking with a passenger in your vehicle, especially if it’s a heated discussion, your attention can be drawn from the road to the inside of your car. Talking to someone in the back seat and trying to pull your attention to a point behind you is even more dangerous.
How Else Are Drivers Distracted?
If you are very tired, you should not be behind the wheel of a vehicle, but with commutes getting longer, not shorter, that makes it hard to get home from work by following that rule. Many people work much longer hours than the old nine-to-five, and they often are communicating with Bluetooth devices on the road, as well.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has long been a problem on the road. It was a severe problem even when it was mainly alcohol as the cause, but now it’s worse, with the addition of many different kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal, that can cause you to become drowsy or even hyper-alert.
What if you see another driver on the cell phone, even when you’re not? That and many other instances, like lane changing and offensive driving, can cause road rage, which is another prominent cause of critical accidents. Keep your mind on your own driving and your hands on the wheel, and drive defensively, so that you can avoid all the people who are not doing so.