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Most polled Canadian drivers regard themselves as polite drivers, although that is not the view of fellow motorists


July 5, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter


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Almost everyone behind the wheel may consider themselves to be polite drivers, but that does not mean they have the same perception of fellow motorists sharing the road, suggest new survey findings issued Tuesday by Kanetix.ca.

The survey found 98% of Canadian motorists taking part in the poll would rate themselves as polite drivers, notes a statement from Kanetix.ca, an online insurance marketplace that provides more than a million quotes annually to consumers looking for insurance.

Despite that view, few respondents “are actually witnessing other motorists demonstrating those same manners behind the wheel,” Kanetix.ca reports.

“There is a huge disconnect between how we think we are behaving and what is actually being seen on the roads,” says Janine White, vice president of marketplace for Kanetix.ca.

Consider the following survey results:

  • 78% of respondents say they always yield to pedestrians or cyclists, while just 12% report seeing other drivers doing so;
  • 77% of respondents say they always wave or express thanks when someone allows them into their lane, but only 9% report seeing other drivers doing the same;
  • just 2% of respondents admit to following closely if a car in front is going too slowly, although 15% report seeing other drivers following closely;
  • just 1% of respondents say they do not signal a turn or signal at the very last minute, but 21% report seeing other drivers doing so; and
  • 81% of respondents say they never cut off others on purpose and 88% claim they never double park.

“Demographically, female drivers, married drivers, those over 45 and those in Quebec/Atlantic Canada are more likely to say they demonstrate these positive behaviours,” the statement notes.

“Being mindful of your own manners is important. An action that may just be considered impolite could easily cross the line into an unsafe or bad driving habit,” Kanetix.ca reports.

For example, tailgating is a common cause of accidents in Canada, the company notes. “When you follow too closely to another vehicle, your response time is limited and you’re more likely to rear-end that person should you have to suddenly brake,” it points out.

A 2015 survey by Kanetix.ca found that the majority of polled Canadian drivers have exhibited road rage.

That poll found 76% of respondents admit to at least one bad driving behaviour, although with regard to road rage, the only habit that saw a significant drop was the use of profanity out of frustration with traffic or delays, which fell from 39% to 31%. While cursing at other drivers also dropped slightly, there was a marked increase in use of hostile hand gestures and excessively honking at other drivers.

Small numbers of respondents admitted to chasing and tailgating other vehicles (7%), getting out of their vehicles to confront another driver (2%), physically confronting another driver (1%), and intentionally bumping another car (1%).

With regard to the 2016 survey, Kanetix.ca notes that “calmer and safer drivers reduce their chances of getting a ticket, getting into a collision and facing the inevitable increase in car insurance.”

Conducted online in June with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Canadians, the sample is accurate to within +/-3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.