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driving concerns

Sometimes people tell you things that sound a little far-fetched. Such as U.S. border guards can ask if you've ever smoked a joint — and make you turn around if you say yes.

But it's true — and you'll be banned from crossing for life. Here are a few more facts that surprised us here in 2014:

Insurance hike for no damage?

If you tell your insurance company that you were in a minor collision with no damage — not even a scratch — your insurance rates might still take a hit.

"It depends on the company, they may say: 'It was technically a collision, so from a risk perspective we'll keep it on your record,'" said Pete Karageorgos, IBC Ontario manager of industry and consumer relations. "My question is: if there was no damage, why would you exchange information or report it?"

Getting a ticket if caught on video texting and driving

You can get a ticket if somebody takes a video of you texting or yakking on the phone while driving — even if you're stopped at a stop light.

But, the shooter can't just post the video anonymously to YouTube and wait for you to get in trouble."The person has to be willing to go to court to testify and we have to get some positive identification," says Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey, with Calgary Police Traffic Services. "The case can't rely solely on video, it's an extension of what the witness will say in court."

The #drivingselfie really exists

"Hashtags such as #drivingselfie, #drivingfast, #drivingtowork, #rainx and #drivingintherain ... reveal particularly dangerous distracted driving behaviours," says Kristine D'Arbelles, public affairs manager for the Canadian Automobile Association.

It's illegal in most of Canada. It's dumb everywhere.

Danger of voice-activated systems

"Getting you directions for a car crash." There are no regulations or government testing to make sure Siri, or any other GPS app or hands-free device, doesn't steer you into an accident.

"No one's minding the store," says David Strayer, a University of Utah cognitive neurologist and lead author of studies that showed some voice-activated systems were more distracting than picking up a phone. "I think ultimately, having guidelines or standards would make sense – there's nothing along those lines now."

Charged for leaving older kids in the car?

In the U.S., parents have been charged for leaving 9, 10, and 11-year-olds in the car for a few minutes — some say we've gone overboard with our fear of frying. "Those stories of deaths are horrifying and they stay with us, but those are cases where kids have been left alone in hot cars for hours," says free-range parenting advocate Lenore Skenazy. "Everyone talks about how fast a car heats up, and it does, but I can find no stories of a child who died of hyperthermia during a regular errand."

Experts say the majority of kids who've died in hot cars have been three and under — and in nearly every case they were accidentally left in a rear-facing car seat.

"The number one way kids die is by being driven somewhere – but we don't hear nationally about all these crashes left and right because there are so many more."

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