Survey: are Canadians good drivers?

At belairdirect, we like to reward good driving. We were curious to discover drivers' perceptions from coast to coast, so we asked over 1,500 Canadians, with help from Léger Marketing, what they thought of their driving habits*. Do they consider themselves good drivers? Do they have some questionable behaviours? Are they open to developing better driving habits? See if you recognize yourself in these statistics!

A good opinion of themselves

Generally, Canadians have quite optimistic views: some 95% consider themselves to be good drivers. At the same time, 93% admit to having had at least one bad driving habit. The most widespread? Drinking coffee or water (80%), changing the radio station or adjusting the volume (79%) and eating at the wheel (59%).

On our blog, we turned to readers for their top driving tips. Bonnie says: “When you drive, NOTHING is more important, not texting, talking on the phone, putting on makeup or looking at the landscape. Driving is your priority.”


The riskiest behaviours

At the top of the list of most dangerous actions behind the wheel, a majority of respondents said impaired driving. Nevertheless, 19% of the Canadians surveyed admitted to having already unfortunately driven under the influence.

Being distracted (54%) and being tired (42%) followed close behind. As distraction is a dangerous behaviour, Fatima, a reader, insists on the importance of being alert and on the lookout for what’s happening on the road. “My advice is addressed to young drivers and those who have just gotten their driver’s license,” she explains. “Make sure you can see everything. Driving is not just your concern; it’s also the concern of those around you.”

Over 80% of the Canadians surveyed admitted to having engaged in clearly wrongful driving behaviour, and in return being rewarded with parking tickets or tickets for speeding or running a red light. These widespread violations of the rules of the road prompted a number of people on our blog to raise the importance of respecting the speed limit and stopping where you’re supposed to.

“I often get honked at (and even worse than that) because I stop cautiously at yellow lights rather than speeding up to cross and risking making a move that’s dangerous for a driver turning in the opposite direction,” says Catherine . For her part, Candice asks herself: “If 1 km/h over the speed limit is breaking it, why think it’s okay to drive 10 km/h over? Yes, sometimes, you get away with it, but you’re speeding every time you break the limit.” And Joanne adds: “Turn signals and stopping at stop signs are not optional!”

Drivers are willing to do better

Despite all this, there are some things to celebrate too! Canadian drivers are open to changing their bad habits. The habits to be changed? Texting, looking at your phone or answering it while driving. Stéphane cautions drivers: “Put your cellphone down; nothing’s more important than your life. Your cell can wait!”

A habit that’s not ready to be changed? Singing at the wheel! Over half of Canadians (54%) like to “carpool karaoke” while driving, which is not necessarily a bad habit, depending on your talent! On the other hand, a few more reckless drivers go even so far as doing their hair or makeup (9%) and flossing their teeth (3%). Note that these habits fall within the category of distractions while driving!

Whatever your risky behaviour, you must keep one thing in mind, as summed up well by our blog reader P-A: “When I’m behind the wheel, I concentrate on my responsibility as a driver, as having a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right.” And Mary concludes wisely: “We’re all in a position of power at the wheel of our car, so it’s our responsibility as drivers to follow the rules of the road.”


*The Léger survey was conducted for the Belair Direct account between July 24 and 27, 2017 with 1 ,551 Canadians online using the LegerWeb tool. Of this number, 1,450 participants indicated on question 1 that they drove, which represents the sample used. A random sample of the same size would give a margin of error of +/-2.5 %, 19 times out of 20.