Traffic Congestion Steams Canadian Drivers

This archived article is from May 2003. Although every effort has been made to make sure the information presented is accurate, please note that it may contain information that is out-of-date.

Study shows crowded roads can lead to aggressive driving havoc

Traffic congestion can do more than disrupt your daily schedule. A new study suggests that snarled traffic is making Canadian drivers more aggressive behind the wheel.

The fifth annual Nerves of Steel Aggressive Driving Study commissioned by TheSteelAlliance and Canada Safety Council, found that 90% of Canadians surveyed believe that traffic congestion can fuel aggressive driving and more than 40% said they become frustrated or aggressive when stuck in traffic.

 Of those polled, 84% admit they have committed acts of aggressive driving such as running through yellow lights or driving over the speed limit. Although this is 4% less than last year, it is still a concern for Canadians, since 72% of respondents feel that the incidence of aggressive driving is increasing. The study also determined that 65% of Canadians polled believe traffic congestion is increasing. Currently there are over 20 million licensed drivers vying for space on Canadian roadways.

"When you combine stress with stand-still traffic during rush hour, you find drivers become frustrated over their lack of control with their situation," says Emile Thérien, president of the Canada Safety Council. "As roads become increasingly congested, aggressive driving will continue to escalate."

Aside from traffic congestion, aggressive driving can be fuelled by a variety of other factors. More than 90% of respondents become frustrated on the road when they see other drivers reading, eating and using high-tech devices such as cell phones - a 15% increase from 2001.

Additionally, drowsy driving is also impacting aggressive driving. Close to 50% of Canadians polled believe aggressive driving and lack of sleep are linked. More than 40% admit they drove while drowsy in the past year, while an alarming 7% admit to even falling asleep behind the wheel.

"The first line of defence toward road safety is being alert while behind the wheel and to focus solely on driving," says Bill Heenan, president of TheSteelAlliance. "The last line of defence is to make sure your vehicle is designed to protect you in the event of an accident or collision."

Canadians polled overwhelmingly chose steel as the number one material to protect themselves and their families in the event of a collision. More than 80% of those with an opinion felt steel provided more protection than other materials such as aluminum, fiberglass and plastic. The modern high strength steels used in automobile production today offer increased durability and crash resistance while providing mass reduction, fuel efficiency and design flexibility.