Canadians’ driving habits might not be as good as they think

According to a new survey, Canadians are willing to change driving habits for the right incentive.

  • Aug. 20, 2017 8:30 a.m.

While most Canadians think they are good drivers, their habits behind the wheel might indicate otherwise. A new belairdirect survey by Leger Research shows the majority of Canadians, approximately 95 per cent, think they are good drivers, but surprisingly 93 per cent have admitted to engaging in at least one bad habit behind the wheel.

Many Canadians have engaged in risky or distracting behaviour while driving, including eating and drinking, using a cellphone, applying make-up and even being romantic or intimate. But, the good news is that they are willing to change – for the right incentive.

“belairdirect is committed to encouraging all Canadians to engage in good driving habits and understands that drivers may not realize that some behaviours are putting them at risk,” said Richard Taschereau, Deputy Senior Vice President, Marketing, Communications and Business Development, belairdirect. “We’ve all been in a rush or off to a special occasion, but with millions of people on the road, it’s important that we take an active role in keeping the roads safe.”

Canadians identified what they believe to be the top three riskiest behaviours of drivers on the road, including:

– being under the influence, 89 per cent

– distracted driving, 54 per cent

– fatigue, 42 per cent

The majority of drivers, approximately 79 per cent, would be willing to give up at least one bad driving habit if they knew a monetary incentive was offered. Habits drivers are most willing to give up involves limiting their cellphone use, including, sending a text, checking their phone, and making a call/or talking on the phone.

Some activities that drivers were less enthusiastic to give up included changing the radio station or volume, turning to talk to another passenger, or sipping a beverage while driving. The study also found that nearly one out of 10 drivers were not willing to give up anything even if a monetary incentive was involved.

According to the survey, upholding the Canadian reputation as being nice and good natured, it’s not surprising that 54 per cent like to sing while driving, 96 per cent would not steal another driver’s parking spot, and 91 per cent would not speed up to stop someone from passing.

Other findings were as follows:

– ninety-three per cent of those aged 18-34 are the group most willing to improve their driving habits if they knew they would be rewarded.

– drivers aged 18-44 are significantly more likely to admit to having used their cellphone, updated a map or GPS, removed an article of clothing such as a jacket or applied make-up while driving.

– three in 10 drivers admit to have driven through a red light, approximately 31 per cent, and 29 per cent admit to have disobeyed road signs.

– the provinces most willing to change driving habits, if they knew they would be rewarded are British Columbia and Alberta, both 96 per cent followed closely by Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 92 per cent. The rest of the provinces were also overwhelmingly willing, more than 80 per cent, to change their driving habits which, according to the survey is a testament to Canadians’ openness to change.

– fourteen per cent of drivers have engaged in romantic activities while driving.

– lastly, three per cent of drivers have flossed while driving.