Thursday July 7, 2011

On The Road

Time To Shift Attitudes

Fifty per cent of drivers polled say not signalling the worst discourtesy

Released by Adam Grossman, ICBC


ith more traffic, construction-related delays, and cyclists and pedestrians on our roads than ever, how are B.C. drivers coping? According to a recent Ipsos Reid survey conducted on behalf of ICBC, driver courtesy is taking a hit, which can put all road users in danger and increase the risk of road rage.

Half of drivers surveyed said that drivers in their community are less courteous on the road than they were five years ago. When asked which signs of driver discourtesy they’ve experienced most in the last three months by other drivers, signalling late or not at all was number one (82 per cent), followed by tailgating (73 per cent), being prevented from merging (63 per cent), getting cut off (48 per cent) and getting honked at in anger (26 per cent).

Meanwhile, 40 per cent of those surveyed believe that they have not been discourteous to other drivers in the last three months. 25 per cent of respondents admitted that they’ve honked out of anger and 17 per cent admitted to signalling too late or not at all.

“There’s a clear disconnect between how drivers perceive their own driving behaviours and the reality of their driving,” said John Vavrik, a psychologist at ICBC.

According to Vavrik, numerous studies have shown that driver discourtesy can be one of the major causes of road rage, and because discourtesy can trigger some very heated emotions, it can impair a driver’s ability to concentrate, react and make smart driving decisions putting them at increased risk of crashing.

“Aggressive or careless driving such as cutting off other drivers, speeding, tailgating, talking on cell phones and not using proper signals is almost always what incites road rage” said Vavrik. “While road delays play a part in adding to driving stress, it’s the behaviour of other drivers that leads to the greatest frustration.”

“Driving smart is about making smart decisions and shifting our attitudes toward driving. Our own driving behaviour plays a part in the safety of our roads for everyone,” said Fiona Temple, ICBC’s director of road safety. “The majority of survey respondents believe that courtesy is contagious, so the next time a driver lets you merge in front of them, give them a wave – they may just pay it forward to another driver later down the road.”

The online survey polled 899 adult B.C. drivers (aged 18 or older) who drive one or more hours per week. For full survey results, visit:

For more road safety tips, visit


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