By RAM Tracking on 23 Feb 2024

Staged Incidents on Canadian Roads

Every day, unsuspecting motorists travel on Canadian roads, unaware that they are potential targets. Staged road scams have become an alarming problem, compromising the safety and integrity of our roads. Notably, auto insurance fraud, such as these types of scams, costs Ontario drivers an estimated $1.6 billion each year according to Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

These incidents not only pose a significant threat to road users but also serve as a reminder of the length’s criminals will go to exploit others for personal gain.

  • For fleet managers and businesses reliant on vehicles, the frequency of staged incidents presents many issues.
  • The prospect of falling victim to these fraudulent schemes not only jeopardizes financial stability but also undermines trust in the integrity of the transport industry.

Stay aware of vehicles tailgating, abruptly merging in front of you, or signaling you to proceed, particularly if there are three or more occupants in the vehicle. If you find yourself concerned about the behavior of drivers in your vicinity, seek out a secure location to pull over and wait until you feel it's prudent to re-enter traffic. It's better to prioritize safety over haste when uncertain about the actions of other drivers on the road.

Types of staged collisions

The Insurance Bureau of Canada defines auto fraud as encompassing false injury claims, exaggerated assertions made via body shops and medical facilities, and orchestrated collisions. Among these, staged collisions are a prevalent form of fraud, typically manifesting in three primary tactics:

  • The swoop and squat: This maneuver entails one vehicle abruptly cutting in front of the victim, while an accomplice tailgates closely behind, causing a collision when the victim brakes.
  • The drive down scheme: This is often executed in parking lots, a scammer signals the victim to back out of their parking spot before deliberately colliding with their vehicle.
  • The bullet left turn: This ruse occurs when a vehicle signals to make a left turn, and a fraudster waves the driver across, only to collide with them intentionally as they turn.

Unfortunately, commercial drivers may be particularly appealing targets for staged collisions due to the likelihood of them having more extensive coverage types through their employers, which fraudsters could exploit. it is key that fleet drivers are educated by fleet managers on how to avoid staged collisions and understand the appropriate steps to take if they become victims of such scams.

How to avoid staged collisions

While it's impossible to predict every staged collision, there are proactive measures you can take to enhance your safety on the road. Consider the following expanded tips along with the potential benefits of dash cams:

  • Stay vigilant: Maintain a proactive approach to your surroundings while driving. Keep a keen eye out for any signs of suspicious behavior, such as vehicles tailing you unnecessarily closely or exhibiting erratic driving patterns. These could be indicators of a potential staged collision attempt.
  • Maintain safe distances: Ensure you maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you. Adhering to recommended stopping distances, which vary depending on your speed, can provide you with the necessary time and space to react in case of sudden maneuvers or unexpected events on the road.
  • Be mindful of surroundings: Stay adapted to your environment and adjust your driving behavior accordingly. Adopt defensive driving techniques, adhere strictly to the Highway Safety Code, and never assume that gestures from other drivers, such as waving you through an intersection, necessarily guarantee safe passage.
  • Exercise caution at intersections: Exercise caution, particularly when pulling out of side roads or intersections, especially if prompted to do so by another driver. Always prioritize caution over haste and ensure it's safe to proceed before entering traffic.

In addition to these precautions, equipping your vehicle with a dash cam can serve as a valuable tool in documenting any suspicious or fraudulent activity on the road. Dash cams can provide crucial evidence in case of an incident or staged collision, helping to protect your interests and facilitate swift resolution of insurance claims.


Staged incidents on Canadian roads pose a significant threat to the safety and integrity of our transportation networks. As highlighted by Finance Minister Charles Sousa, the financial toll of auto insurance fraud alone underscores the magnitude of this issue, with Ontario drivers bearing a staggering $1.6 billion burden annually.

  • These orchestrated collisions not only jeopardize the safety of road users but also underscore the lengths to which criminals will go for personal gain.
  • Fleet managers and businesses reliant on vehicles face heightened risks, as staged incidents not only endanger financial stability but also erode trust in the transport industry's integrity.

However, by staying vigilant and implementing proactive measures, such as maintaining safe distances, being mindful of surroundings, and exercising caution at intersections, drivers can mitigate these risks.

Combating staged collisions requires a collective effort involving heightened awareness, adherence to safety protocols, and leveraging technology to safeguard against fraudulent practices. By remaining proactive and informed, drivers can play a crucial role in preserving the safety and integrity of our roads for all users.

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