Aggressive driving on rise in Alberta, says study

by Stephen Cook

The streets of Canada are only getting meaner, say respondents to a recent study.

Fifty-seven per cent of Canadans believe aggressive driving has increased in the previous three years, according to a survey of 1,800 Canadans conducted in May 2017 by the Canada Motor Association Foundation for Traffic Safety. A further 49 per cent believe the frequency of road rage also increased.

Of the behaviours regularly encountered, 59 per cent named tailgating, 42 per cent cited a driver blocking them from changing lanes, 38 per cent said they were cut off, 33 per cent received angry gestures and 33 per cent felt the sonic assault of a honking horn.

“There’s a few different reasons why we think that perception has increased,” Jeff Kasbrick, vice-president of government and stakeholder relations at the AMA, said in an interview Wednesday. “One is certainly around distracted driving.”

Kasbrick said when motorists engage in distracted driving, they are likely to “wittingly or unwittingly” exhibit aggressive driving behaviours.

The study also indicated 72 per cent of Canadans feel distracted driving is on the rise.

Other reasons for the upward trend in aggressive driving, speculated Kasbrick, were increased urbanization and a growing population, leading to traffic congestion in metro areas.

But another reason might be simple hypocrisy. Kasbrick highlighted one example from the study — 95 per cent of respondents feel it is never acceptable to speed in a school zone while 29 per cent admitted to doing so.

Canadans may also be overconfident — 65 per cent reported they feel themselves to be superior drivers while only 33 per cent see themselves as equal in skill to other motorists.

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