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Reading? Playing the sax? Distracted Alberta drivers get caught

As you're gunning down the highway en route to work, you spot a pickup truck in the left lane gaining speed and then – without so much as a blinker warning – the driver cuts you off. Jerk! You switch over to the turning lane to shoot the idiot your best "Dante has a special circle of hell for you" look but he won't even meet your eyes. That's because he's so fixated on clipping his fingernails.

Since Alberta introduced its distracted driving law on Sept. 1, police in Calgary have been handing out plenty of tickets to drivers and not just for gabbing on their cellphones during their morning commute. The fine for an offence is $172.

According to the Calgary Herald, one woman was spotted playing the saxophone behind the wheel but the driver who saw her didn't take down her license plate so she escaped a ticket.

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In another case, a driver's eyes were fixated not on the road ahead, but on handwritten notes in her lap (cramming for an exam, perhaps?).

While the majority of the 157 tickets issued in Alberta so far have been for cellphone use, cops are also on the lookout for drivers who read or take care of personal grooming at stop lights or, worse, while stepping on the gas.

It seems the only thing more enraging than innately bad driving is the kind caused by multi-tasking. It's somehow easier to deal with being rear-ended by a young or inexperienced driver vs. one who was applying mascara behind the wheel.

Over on the Yelp forums in Vancouver, users traded their tales of the most appalling sightings on the road: One user remembers the time a driver steered with her knees because her hands were busy eating potato salad from a large container with a spoon. Another says he's seen drivers shave, eat with chopsticks and even smoke up on the road. And then there are the multiple reports of drivers being on the receiving end of, er, intimate activities. Sure, the driver's eyes are on the road but his or her mind is often somewhere else.

What's the worst thing you've seen another driver do behind the wheel?

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About the Author

Dakshana Bascaramurty is a national news reporter who writes about race and ethnicity. She won a 2013 National Newspaper Award in beat reporting for her coverage of changing demographics in the 905 region. Previously, she was a feature writer for Globe Life. More

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