More drivers leaving courtesy at the curb: poll
Published Monday, July 18, 2011 9:14PM EDT
If you find that driving is becoming the realm of the rude, you're not alone. Most Canadians agree that drivers have become more irritating over the past five years, according to a survey by the Canadian Automobile Association.
Three out of four people believe driving habits are worsening in Canada, the CAA said. Only two per cent of those surveyed said they thought drivers were becoming less abrasive, while 20 per cent said they thought the level of decorum in traffic hasn't changed.
Aggressive driving topped the list of the most annoying behaviours, with 86 per cent of survey respondents citing it as their number-one complaint about other drivers.
Other annoying behaviours include:
- Sending a text while driving, identified by 85 per cent of respondents.
- Tailgating, identified by 78 per cent.
- Turning without a signal, identified by 73 per cent.
"They're all the sorts of things that we were told when we took driving lessons, or did our driving test and first got our license, that we really shouldn't do," said Ian Jack, a spokesperson for the CAA.
While such problems "seem a little bit uncivil," they're habits "that could lead you or your loved ones to be killed one day," he said.
"This isn't a matter of wearing white gloves and extending your pinky as you turn left and turn right, it's a matter of literally life and death for hundreds of Canadians every year."
The national poll was released Monday and its results, based on responses from 5,044 Canadians, are considered accurate to within 1.38 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The Insurance Corporation of B.C. has also singled out worsening driver etiquette as a problem, after conducting several surveys of its own.
The Crown insurance provider has even launched an ad campaign asking drivers to be more appreciative of gestures of goodwill on the roads.
"People generally feel there's a lack of courtesy, there's a lot of anger out there and people are concerned about running into aggressive drivers," said John Vavrik, an ICBC psychologist.
"We're tying to resurrect the wave" as a thank-you for good manners, he added.
Michel Bedard, the director of the Centre for Research on Safe Driving at Lakehead University, said that if those behind the wheel "relax a bit more, slow down a bit more," it would "change the whole road environment."
According to Bedard, vehicle collisions cost the Canadian economy billions every year -- even though "most crashes are preventable," he said.
Jack said the first step in fixing the problem is to recognize that all drivers have room to improve.
"The odds are that if we're civil to other people, most -- not all -- but most, will be civil back," he said.
With files from The Canadian Press and a report from CTV Toronto's John Musselman