Road Rage on Canadian Roads

Update:

See the story and poll results featured in the Globe and Mail, written by Peter Cheney

Globe Drive commissioned a poll with Harris-Decima and below are the results reflected in a some graphs and other poll findings. The poll included interviewing 1000 Canadians.

Based on the survey, Ontario is the road rage capital of Canada, closely followed by Quebec and Alberta. If cut off by another driver, some 29% of Ontario drivers said they would honk the horn, while 14% would shout profanities or gesture.

But in the Atlantic provinces only seven per cent said they would shout or make gestures; which made sense to me. I spend a lot of time in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and if you’re looking to get ticked off on the road, this isn’t the right place – the traffic isn’t thick enough to work up a decent rage, and the people are too laid back. Even if another driver does manage to get you enraged, the small population tends to act as a governing mechanism – no matter how badly a driver ticks you off, you hold back, since you might be seeing them later.

In national traffic hellholes like Calgary or Toronto, things are different. Here, you are lost in the crowd – when you deliver a digital salute on the 401 or the Deerfoot Trail, you can safely assume you’ll never encounter the recipient again.

If you want to be road-rage free, you might consider moving to Manitoba or Saskatchewan. The Harris-Decima poll found that 74 per cent of drivers there would simply let it go if another driver cut them off. Again, this made sense. I spent a couple of weeks in Saskatoon on a story once, and it was one of the most soothing driving experiences of my life. My fellow drivers and I cruised beneath the giant blue dome of the prairie sky, and we always seemed to have more than enough room – like yachts sailing the infinity of the Pacific, we occasionally glimpsed each other, but that was all.

There were also strong regional differences when it came to road rage provoked by talking or texting at the wheel. In Alberta, 76 per cent of the drivers surveyed cited talking or texting as a factor. In Ontario, the figure was only 56 per cent. The difference is easily explained – Ontario has banned hand-held phones, Alberta hasn’t.

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Trish McAlaster/The Globe and Mail. Source: Harris/Decima

Other poll findings

  • Drivers with highest incomes ($100,000-plus) are the least likely to let it go if someone cuts them off (57%) and the most likely to shout or make gestures (15%).
  • Women (64%) are only slightly more likely than men (60%) to ignore it if someone cuts them off.
  • Drivers using handheld devices are the biggest concern to 58% of respondents, way ahead of elderly drivers (10%), teenage drivers (8%) and cyclists (6%).
  • Women are more likely than men to be bothered by other drivers talking on the phone or texting – 62% vs. 54%.
  • Drivers in Alberta, where handheld devices are still legal when driving, are most likely (76%) to name them as their biggest concern.
  • Men are much more likely (18%) than women (8%) to name bad traffic as the thing than aggravates them most when driving. Women’s biggest bugbear (14%) is being cut off by another driver.

Ontario woman is arrested over “Seat Belt Rage”. Seat Belt violations have increased to $240.00 and two (2) demerit points.

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