Driver error

Reduce the likelihood of collisions by practicing safe driving habits and avoiding common errors.


As a driver, you are a key part of decreasing the number of collisions on our roads. Pay attention to your actions and take responsibility for making safe choices.

Every road user shares in the responsibility to reduce the number and severity of collision-related casualties in Alberta. Failing to drive responsibly can harm others and can result in other consequences, including demerit points.

Safe driving habits

One thing you can do immediately is make safer choices and practice safer driving habits.

  • Leave enough time to get to your destination.
  • If you are running late, tailgating or speeding will not really get you there faster and will only increase your chances of being in a collision.
  • Pay attention to the road.
  • Drive proactively to anticipate hazards and reduce or avoid dangers before they occur.

Common errors

Following too closely

Often called 'tailgating’, following too closely means you are not leaving enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. This earns you a demerit point and can be fatal, since you will not have enough time to stop if the vehicle ahead stops suddenly.

In ideal road and weather conditions:

  • drive at least 2 seconds behind the vehicle ahead
    • increase this to at least 4 seconds if you are driving a large vehicle like a motor home
  • leave room in front of you when you are stopped at an intersection
  • this allows you to move out of the way of a hazard if necessary and reduces the chance you will hit the vehicle ahead if you are hit from behind
  • if the vehicle behind you is following too closely, try reducing your speed just enough to encourage them to pass
  • do not slam on your brakes

If the person does not pass, create a larger space between you and the vehicle ahead of you so they know they have enough room. If the person still does not pass, find a safe place to pull over to allow the person behind you to continue.

Running off the road

A range of factors can increase the chance that you lose control of your vehicle, including:

  • speed
  • road conditions
  • weather
  • braking
  • accelerating too quickly
  • tire condition can increase the chance that you lose control of your vehicle

Watch the road ahead of and around you and look for possible problems, such as:

  • icy patches
  • wildlife
  • other vehicles
  • hazards on the road

To prevent yourself from running off the road:

  • ensure your vehicle and tires are maintained in good working order
  • check the weather and road conditions before you head out
  • decrease your speed and increase your following distance when road and weather conditions are not ideal

Be cautious when driving, since careless driving can result in a demerit point.

Turning left across traffic

When traffic approaches from more than one direction, drivers often misjudge the time and space they need to turn. Small vehicles in particular, such as motorcycles, tend to appear farther away than they actually are. Remember that a driver turning left across the path of an oncoming vehicle must not turn until it is safe. Be sure you have enough room and time before starting your turn.

If you are waiting behind someone turning left across traffic, be patient. Do not honk or crowd them, as that could make them nervous or agitated which may lead them to make a poor decision about whether it is safe to turn.