Canadians Report Fewer Blunders from Drivers Than Last Year

The proportion of Canadians who say drivers are “worse” than five years ago dropped from 47% in 2019 to 39% this year.

Vancouver, BC [October 16, 2020] – Canadians are expressing a higher level of satisfaction with drivers, and there is a decline on the incidence of specific negative behaviours on the country’s roads, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 39% of Canadians think drivers in their city or town are “worse” than five years ago, down eight points since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in 2019.

More than two-in-five Canadians (44%, +4) say the quality of drivers has not changed, while 7% (=) believe they are “better” than five years ago.

“Canadians aged 55 and over are more likely to have a pessimistic view of drivers, with 50% believing they are worse now,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Fewer Canadians aged 35-to-54 (43%) and aged 18-to-34 (20%) share this point of view.”

The survey, which tracks the incidence of six specific behaviours, shows significant drops in some categories. 

More than half of Canadians (54%, -7 since 2019) saw a driver not signaling before a turn in the past month, and more than two-in-five (44%, -3) witnessed a car taking up two or more spots in a parking lot.

More than a third of Canadians (36%, -8) saw a driver not stopping at an intersection over the past month. Fewer respondents witnessed “lane tracking” or vehicles turning right or left from an incorrect lane (33%, -1) or experienced a “close call” on the road, such as slamming the breaks or having to steer violently to avoid a collision (26%, -9).

On a regional basis, British Columbia had the largest proportion of respondents who observed drivers not signaling before a turn (61%) or failing to stop at intersections (48%) in the past month. 

The proportion of respondents who saw vehicles taking up two or more spots in a parking lot was highest in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (53%) and Alberta (50%).

As was the case last year, 56% of Canadians believe that there are specific groups or people in their city or town who are worse drivers than others. 

More than two-in-five respondents who blamed a specific group for bad driving (43%) mentioned “young”, while 25% wrote “elderly.”

Results are based on an online study conducted from September 18 to September 20, 2020, among a representative sample of 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.