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High-risk driving

Some high-risk driving behaviours seem harmless, but they increase our chances of being in a collision. Remember, driving is complex: keep your mind on the road.

Top 5 high-risk driving behaviours

On average, 6,700 injury and fatality crashes occur each year as a result of high-risk driving. The most common types of high-risk behaviours include failing to yield, ignoring traffic-control devices, following too closely, speeding, and improper passing.

Here are some tips to help reduce your risk on the road:

Failing to yield

Yielding right-of-way helps everyone safely share the road. It's about watching for other road users and making safe decisions about when to let others go first.

  • Look for and expect to see pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, and be prepared to stop and yield the right-of-way to them.
  • Don't count on others to obey the rules of the road - or to make allowances for you.
  • It may not always be easy to decide who has the right-of-way at intersections. Signs and traffic signals often help determine who needs to yield to whom. Learn more in ICBC's guide, Learn to drive smart.

Ignoring traffic-control devices

It can seem tempting to roll through a stop sign or other traffic control device. But doing so puts you and other road users at risk.

  • When you're approaching a light that's been green for a while, prepare yourself to stop if the light changes.
  • Remember that yellow lights mean you must stop unless it's unsafe to do so.
  • Be sure to come to a complete stop at stop signs and red lights, even when turning right.

Following too closely

Tailgating not only leaves you less room to stop in an emergency, it increases your risk of being rear-ended by another vehicle.

  • Always leave a safe following distance to give yourself more time to react to the unexpected.
  • You need a following distance of at least two seconds in good weather and road conditions. Allow at least three seconds when you're behind a large vehicle that could block your vision or a motorcycle that could stop very quickly.


Speeding reduces your reaction time, and the faster you go, the longer it takes to stop.

  • Speed is one of the most frequently cited contributing factors in police-reported crashes. You need time to see and react before your brakes take effect and slow you down.
  • Slowing down and being more realistic about travel times can reduce your risk of getting in a crash. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination so you don’t feel the need to rush.
  • The speed limit is for optimal conditions only. The speed you're going should be relative to the road and weather conditions.

Improper passing

Passing can be dangerous, especially when your line of sight is obscured.

  • If you’re planning to pass, make sure you can do it safely and legally. Keep within the speed limit and communicate clearly by using your signals.
  • Avoid passing on the right and ensure you can see the vehicle you’ve passed in your mirrors before pulling back in front of it.
  • Pass only if there is no oncoming traffic.
  • Before you pass a vehicle, be sure to signal, mirror check and shoulder check.
  • When you pass or change lanes in front of a truck, make sure to leave extra room before pulling back in.
  • Always stop and yield to school buses, watch for children, and drive very slowly around parked school buses.

Sharing the road with pedestrians and cyclists

As drivers we have to share the road with others, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers of other vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists are more vulnerable than other road users and can be unpredictable at times.

Here are some tips for keeping pedestrians and cyclists safer on the road: