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driving concerns

You can make a legal U-turn at a green light in Toronto, but if you do it in Calgary or Vancouver, you'll get a ticket.

With 13 different sets of driving laws – none of which make for breezy reading – the answer to a lot of driving questions is, "It depends."

And because we've all learned rules from parents, buddies and Google, there are things we think are legal – or illegal – which actually aren't.

So here are a few of the rules, myths and driving-related mysteries that surprised us in 2017.

1. U-turn rules aren't always straightforward

When Siri tells you to make a U-Turn at the next intersection, you're safe in Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick or PEI. That's where you can legally make a U-turn at any intersection – as long as there's no sign banning them.

"As long as it's not on a blind corner, a crest of a hill or in front of a railway crossing – you can do them," said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, with Ontario Provincial Police.

Things get trickier everywhere else in Canada – for instance, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan ban U-turns at intersections with traffic lights. And in Vancouver, city bylaws mean they're illegal almost everywhere.

2. Yes, police are allowed to scan your licence plate

Police forces across the country use automated licence plate recognition (ALPR) systems to fish for people with expired driver's licences and other violations. They can scan your plate even if you've not done anything wrong.

"People can be driving a Mercedes and have a suspended licence for drunk driving," Lt. Jason Allard, Sûreté du Québec spokesman, said. "It's the most subjective system we have."

3. If you drive with heavy snow on your car in Manitoba, you could get dumped with a ticket

Manitoba, like most other provinces, doesn't have a law that specifically bans driving if you haven't brushed the snow off your car. But a Winnipeg man got a $237.50 fine for driving with an unsecured load because he had 7-10 centimetres of snow on his van's roof. Even if police aren't being creative, you can get fines in most provinces if snow is covering your mirrors, windows or licence plate.

4. There's a simple reason so many drivers have those ugly black wheels in the winter

Compared to potentially pricey alloy wheels, black steel wheels are usually, well, a steal. And putting your winter tires on their own dedicated rims, means you're saving money on installation every year. Plus, if you're installing winter tires yourself, you'll need them on rims – unless you're the tire guy at Costco.

5. There's no law against driving with a cast in Ontario, but you could still get charged

As in other provinces, Ontario's Highway Traffic Act doesn't ban driving with a cast – or with just your left foot. But that doesn't mean you'll get a break if you crash – you could still face careless driving charges.

"It is not safe to drive with a cast on one's right foot and it is not safe to drive with the left foot only," driving instructor Ian Law said. "Driving is all about communicating – if you can't feel which pedal you are pressing and by how much, you will miscommunicate with the vehicle and greatly increase the chances of a crash."

6. Your insurance company doesn't necessarily care about your demerits

Instead, it looks at all the tickets on your driving record – whether they come with demerits or not – and decides if you're a safe driver.

"The more tickets and infractions you have on your driving record the larger the risk you become to insure and your rate will reflect that," said John Bordignon, spokesman for State Farm Canada.

7. No, you probably can't legally ride your bike on the sidewalk

Rules vary by city and province but, generally, unless you're a kid, your bike has to stay on the street – or in the bike lane. There are a few exceptions. And if there isn't a bike lane and you don't feel safe riding in the street?

"When a cyclist feels that the road might be unsafe or dangerous, we recommend they dismount from their bike and walk it on the sidewalk," said Daniela Patino, spokesperson for Cycle Toronto.

8. No provinces allow motorcycles to drive between lanes of traffic

This year, California officially legalized lane splitting – motorcycles riding between lanes of moving traffic.

But no Canadian provinces are planning to allow any version of it here, despite pleas from a B.C. motorcycling group. Other experts think Canadian drivers aren't ready.

"As a car driver, you're not used to looking far behind you to see if a motorcyclist might be coming down the middle," said David Millier, chair of the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC).

9. Technically, Canadian cars don't need to have anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control

Usually, it takes years between a technology being introduced and the government making it mandatory. The United States only started requiring both technologies in 2012 – years after both were introduced. Transport Canada still doesn't require them (or air bags). But since car companies generally adhere to U.S. rules, all new cars sold here have both.

When it comes to newer safety tech, such automatic emergency braking, nothing has been made mandatory yet. Both the United States and Canada are scheduled to require all new cars to have back-up cameras starting in May, 2018.

Have a driving question? Send it to Canada's a big place, so please let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

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Automakers are working on solutions to cover the last stretch of a drive -- the section that can be the most congested. Audi and Ford have come up with electric scooters that can dock in a car, and then be deployed to cover the last few blocks.