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Safe Driving Report 2020

An estimated 19.1 million adults (63% of Canadians) admit to dangerous driving.

When you’re on the road and in a rush, it can be tempting to engage in risky driving behaviour. It may be as seemingly harmless as eating your toast on the go or as blatant as running a red light, but either way, it’s dangerous.

Six in ten Canadians admit to dangerous driving behaviour in the last 12 months, according to Finder’s latest study, which examined the self-reported behaviours of 1,200 Canadians (1,027 drivers). Read on to find out the most common offenses.

Canada’s dangerous driving problem

An estimated 19.1 million adults (63% of Canadians) admit to dangerous driving. Eating food behind the wheel is the number one offense with nearly half of all drivers admitting to doing so (49%). Speeding came in next, with one in three (33%) Canadian drivers saying they’ve broken the speed limit in the last year. Rounding out the top five offenses are forgetting to signal (21%), driving while tired (21%) and smoking (15%).

Wondering how many people text and drive? 14% – slightly more than those who report talking on the phone without using Bluetooth (11%).

A shocking number of Canadians also admit to outright dangerous actions like running a red light (9%), driving with their knees (4%), driving under the influence of drugs (2%) and letting the passenger take the wheel (2%).

Men more likely to drive dangerously

The old stereotype of men driving more dangerously than women may be true: 76% of men report risky behaviours compared to 71% of women. The most common offense for both genders is eating behind the wheel followed by speeding. However, women are more likely to drive and eat (51% compared to 48% of men) and men are significantly more likely to speed (38% compared to 29% of women).

Men are also far more likely to drive with their knees, with 7% saying they’ve done so compared to just 1% of women. Nearly double the percentage of men also reported running a red light (11% compared to 6%).

A higher percentage of women said they text and drive (16% versus 12%). They are also more likely to engage in grooming habits behind the wheel (6% versus 2%).

Millennials are the most dangerous drivers

81% of millennials admit to driving dangerously, the most of any age group. Interestingly, this is consistent with Transport Canada’s 2018 report that revealed Canadians aged 25 – 34 experienced by far the most fatalities and injuries resulting from auto collisions as compared to any other age group.

Generation X are the next most likely to engage in risky driving behaviour (77%), followed by generation Z (75%), baby boomers (68%) and the silent generation (57%).

But who is most likely to do what? Well, there’s good reason to buy into the stereotype of young Canadians driving while on the phone with 19% of both generation Z and millennials saying they text and drive. However, generation X are most likely to speed, with nearly a third saying they put the pedal to the metal (32%). The number one culprits for forgetting to use their signal? The silent generation, with one in five (21%) drivers making this mistake.

Who is most likely to commit the offense?
Eating foodMillennials
SpeedingGen X
Talking on the phone without using BluetoothMillennials
Driving while sleepyMillennials
Driving with your kneesMillennials
Driving under the influence of alcoholMillennials
Driving under the influence of drugsMillennials
TextingGen Z
Reaching back to deal with a childMillennials
Grooming (e.g. brushing hair or applying makeup)Millennials
Changing clothesGen Z
Reading a book or magazineGen X
Driving on the wrong side of the roadGen Z
Driving the wrong way down a one-way streetMillennials
Done a burnoutMillennials
Dinged another vehicle and kept drivingMillennials
Done a sharp turnGen Z
Ran a red lightMillennials
Let a passenger control the wheelGen Z
Forgot to use the signalSilent Gen
MicrosleptGen X
Sent an emailGen Z

Dangerous driving by region

While driving behaviour and car insurance costs both vary greatly from coast to coast, if you’re a Saskatchewanian, then you really need to ensure you have good car insurance given nearly 9 in 10 (88%) Saskatchewan adults admit to dangerous driving. Those in Saskatchewan are most likely to eat behind the wheel, drive with their knees, drive under the influence of drugs, drive the wrong way down a one-way street, ding a car without stopping, run a red light, forget to use their dignal and microsleep.

Alberta has the second most dangerous drivers (81%). Albertans are the most likely to speed, talk on the phone without Bluetooth, text, drive on the wrong side of the road and send emails.

In third place for dangerous driving is Manitoba (76%). Manitobans top the list for changing clothes while driving, doing sharp turns and letting passengers take the wheel.

Nova Scotia and Quebec also have their fair share of dangerous drivers (73% each). A higher percentage of Nova Scotians say they have driven under the influence of alcohol, groomed themselves, reached behind to deal with a child or read a book behind the wheel. Quebecers top the list for driving while sleepy, smoking behind the wheel and doing burnouts.

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Nicole McKnight is the Canada PR Manager at Finder. Nicole completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts (English Literature) at McMaster University and holds a certification in Corporate Communications. You can contact her at See full bio

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