Rude, discourteous driving on upswing: Poll

Bad behaviour brings higher risk of crashes and road rage, warns ICBC

An angry driver makes discourteous gestures at a passing vehicle in 2008 on the Sea-to-Sky Highway north of Furry Creek.

It’s getting uglier on the roads, according to an opinion survey of B.C. motorists conducted for ICBC.

Fifty-five per cent of Lower Mainland residents believe drivers in their community have become less courteous over the past five years, the Ipsos Reid survey found.

Forty per cent said it’s about the same while just three per cent thought drivers are more courteous.

ICBC psychologist John Vavrik said rude, discourteous driving can trigger road rage incidents.

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

He said the heated emotions that result can impair a driver’s ability to concentrate, react and make smart driving decisions, putting them at increased risk of crashing.

On balance, those surveyed gave their fellow drivers a C letter grade for courteous driving, while residents in the rest of B.C. gave their local drivers a C+.

Most drivers denied they’re the problem.

A large majority gave themselves either an A or B grade for driving courtesy.

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

The single biggest peeve?

Drivers who signal late or not at all – an infraction experienced by 82 per cent of those surveyed in the last three months. Seventy-one per cent reported being tailgated, 68 per cent said other drivers refused to let them merge or change lanes and half said they’d been cut off.

Less common grievances were drivers who honk horns, yell, make obscene gestures, wave arms or fists, flash lights or steal your parking spot.

Two per cent reported another driver got out of their vehicle to confront them.

Nobody admitted to doing that but 30 per cent admitted to honking in anger over the past three months and between 10 and 20 per cent said they’ve yelled, blocked a merging car, tailgated or failed to correctly signal in recent months.

Ninety-four per cent say they acknowledge with a wave when another driver is courteous.

Most of those surveyed said they believe their wave in turn encourages others to be more courteous.

Two-thirds said it’s important to them that other drivers acknowledge their courtesy, but the rest said it’s not that important.

The online survey polled 899 adult B.C. drivers.

 

VIDEO

A road rage incident in Langley earlier this year.