As the stereotype goes, Canadians are rumoured to be extremely polite. We hold doors open for each other, we always say thank you, and we never have road rage...or at least that's what we seem to think.

A recent survey found that most Canadians think highly of their driving etiquette, but further survey results show they may be overstating their own level of politeness.

Exaggeration Nation... Are we really that polite?

Overall, 98 per cent of Canadian drivers claimed to exhibit polite behaviour while behind the wheel. The disconnect between how we think we're behaving and what we actually see on the roads appears when surveyors were questioned on their specific driving habits.

Three quarters (77 per cent) say they always wave when drivers let them merge, but only 9 per cent see other drivers doing this. Seventy-eight per cent of drivers say they always yield to pedestrians and cyclists, but only 12 per cent see others doing this. And while 21 per cent always witness drivers failing to signal a turn, only one per cent admit to doing this.

Driving Habit % of Drivers Who Do This % of Drivers Who See Others Doing This
Waving thanks when someone lets you in their lane 77 9
Yielding to pedestrians and cyclists 78 12
Following too closely if the car ahead is moving slowly 2 15
Failing to signal a turn or signalling at the last minute 1 21

Some other notable findings include that 81 per cent say they never cut others off on purpose. 86 per cent say they never litter out the car window, and 88 per cent of Canadians claim they never double park. Demographically, female drivers, married drivers, those over 45 & those in Quebec/Atlantic Canada are more likely to say they demonstrate these positive behaviours.

Patience Is a Virtue... Canadians are likely to honk and tailgate

Canadian drivers seem to be more impatient with drivers than pedestrians. On one hand, 72 per cent of drivers surveyed say they never honk at pedestrians or cyclists; but on the other hand, a mere 28 per cent claim they never honk at other drivers. And only half of Canadian drivers say they never follow closely if the car ahead is moving too slowly.

  • Did You Know? Tailgating is a common cause of accidents in Canada. When you follow too closely to another vehicle, your response time is limited and you're more likely to rear-end that person should you have to suddenly brake.

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