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7 deadly driving errors

Some Ontario drivers seem to court disaster by making really egregious traffic errors. Below are seven of the most common driving fails that can result in injuries or even death.

-- Running red lights. If the light is red for a driver, that means it's green for the other guy. Ignoring a red light and barreling through an intersection makes the likelihood of a collision skyrocket.

-- Tailgating. There really is no reason to follow too closely behind another car. Tailgaters not only wear on other drivers' nerves, but they also endanger lives by eliminating the cushion of space around the vehicle.

-- U-turns. These manoeuvres are risky because it puts the turning driver in the path of oncoming traffic. This increases the odds of being T-boned in an intersection at one of the weakest zones of the car.

-- Hesitating to merge. Highways are designed for cars to merge while accelerating to the same pace as the other drivers. Older drivers in particular are most at risk for failing to increase their speed while merging. Some even reduce speed or stop completely, making it difficult for other motorists to avoid rear-end highway collisions.

-- Distracted driving. According to estimates by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at any given moment, 750,000 distracted drivers are on the road. While texting while driving gets most of the media attention as a hazard, distracted drivers read, eat and otherwise occupy themselves behind the wheel. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety statistics show that texting while driving causes the deaths of 11 teens each day.

-- Speeding. The laws of physics dictate that mass times velocity squared equals the force of a collision. Thus, if one is speeding and gets into an accident, the damage will be far greater and potentially lethal.

-- Impaired driving. Fatigued driving can be almost as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you have lost a loved one due to another driver's negligence behind the wheel, you may be able to seek compensation civilly through the Ontario courts.

Source: The Globe and Mail, "The seven sins committed by drivers looking to get hurt," Peter Cheney, May 14, 2015

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