New driver? Whether you got your license the minute you turned sixteen or waited until you had a bit more practice under your belt, it’s an exciting moment to have a driver’s license for the first time.
To be clear, having a driver’s license is a privilege. Each and every time we operate a motor vehicle on public roads, we are taking on the responsibility of the safety of ourselves, our passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. It can be a lot. It can help new drivers in Quebec to familiarize themselves with the Highway Safety Code and take a driver’s basic course to master the techniques that come with being a responsible driver, but that’s just the beginning.
If you are a new driver in Quebec, here is what you need to know.
Distracted driving comes in many forms
When we think “distracted driving” we probably think texting or general smartphone usage. While, yes, using your smartphone, texting, or browsing the web all constitute as distracted driving, there are many different scenarios which would also fall under the label of distracted driving.
You might think that distracted driving isn’t such a big deal, but five seconds of your eyes off the road at 90 km/hour can be the equivalent of driving an entire football field with a blindfold on. Examples of distracted driving may include the following list and more:
- Texting or talking on your phone
- Entering a destination into your GPS
- Reading a book
- Reading a map
- Eating and drinking
- Applying makeup
- Turning to talk with passengers
- Watching videos
- Grooming practices
Each province has different penalties and rules surrounding distracted driving. In Quebec, a first offense can result in a $300-$600 fine and the 5 demerit points. A repeat offence within a period of two years may also result in immediate license suspension, for between 3 and 30 days.
Figure out your auto insurance
Every driver needs insurance, no matter how new or experienced they are. If you are a young driver who has just been licensed and you use your family vehicle/still live at home and drive your parents’ car, you should be listed on your parents’ insurance policy as an occasional driver. It’s a good idea to do this ASAP because having a couple years of experience driving in your pocket can reduce your insurance rates for when you purchase your own policy – so long as you haven’t had an accident.
If you have purchased your own vehicle, you may want to consider taking out your own insurance policy. It is mandatory in Quebec to have liability insurance, where the minimum amount in the province is $50,000. That being said, most insurance companies will only start at around $1,000,000. Damage insurance like collision and comprehensive are option, but it is recommended to carry these unless your car is over ten years of age.
Panda7 can help you get affordable auto insurance in Quebec as a new driver. Apply for a quote with us today or give us a call to discuss your coverage requirements as soon as whenever works for you.
Driving aids are helpful, but don’t rely on them
Did your parents’ car have a backup camera? If so, you probably understand already how helpful it is to have these sort of driving aids. Driving aids can range from assisted driving mechanics, cruise control, blind spot sensors, and even parking assists – all of which enable our driving experience to be much smoother and safer than it was ever before. However, driving aids can fail – whether this is due to malfunction, user error, or weather extremes, so you should always be prepared to do without.
Moreover, the car that you may end up purchasing a few years down the line or if you have purchased a new car after getting your license that isn’t the one you learned how to drive with, you may have to do without certain tech as not every car has specific driving aids. Hone your judgement and know that while you don’t have to ignore your driving aids, you should not depend solely on them.
Take a driving refresher course if need be
You may have taken a driving education course or beginner driver training course before you got your license, but the things that we learn when we first start driving and the behaviours and habits that we develop later down the line don’t always mirror each other. The rules of the road may change during the time that you are a driver, and you will have to adapt to them.
It is advised for drivers to take a refresher course every ten or so years. This is just general estimate, and you can gauge based on your own experiences, tendencies, and more. All in all, it’s not a bad idea, it does not cost a whole lot, and may help prevent future tickets or incidents later down the line.
Obey traffic rules
This last tip should go without saying, but obeying traffic rules, keeping to the speed limits or recommendations, and overall being a mindful driver is the best way to ensure that you and others are safe on the road and that you avoid any traffic tickets or spike in insurance rates for misbehaviour. You can have fun and stay safe at the same time! When it comes down to it, once you are behind the wheel your goal is to be mindful of the cars and road around you and get to where you need to be as safely as possible. As a new driver in Quebec, there’s no reason to be reckless. We wish you happy driving and hope that you can remain safe on the roads!