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Are drivers getting worse?

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1 Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:59 am

grumpy old man

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A new Canadian Automobile Association survey confirms what most of us already know.

Drivers have become more irritating over the last five years.

The biggest beefs, not surprisingly, are road rage, being cut off and tailgating.

Sounds like a typical morning commute, especially when rising temperatures make tempers boil over.

Texting behind the wheel comes in fourth, but in our books, it's the most dangerous of all.

At least the idiots responsible for the first three sins of the road are aware of their actions, even if they are rude, dangerous and possibly mentally unbalanced.

Texters, on the other hand, often aren't even conscious of the mayhem they cause around them.

But if you really want to know who is responsible for the increasing incivility out there, take a look in your rearview mirror.

The CAA survey of 5,044 Canadians found that beside the 75% who felt drivers are showing more annoying habits, a measly 2% believed drivers were becoming less abrasive, while 20% thought the level of incivility hasn't changed.

Do the math and that indicates there's a good chance one of the drivers making our road time stressful and anxiety ridden is ... you.

Whether we're answering surveys on bad driving or pointing the finger (or flipping it) at other drivers on the road, most of us refuse to acknowledge we might be part of the problem.

All the bad behaviour out there makes a 20-minute drive more than stressful -- it can be downright dangerous.

To deal with this growing problem, the Insurance Corporation of B.C, has adopted a novel ad campaign that asks drivers to acknowledge acts of courtesy on the road.

The theory appears to be that if you're nice to other drivers, they'll be nice to you.

CAA spokesman Ian Jack tells reporters the first step in fixing the problem is to recognize all drivers have room for improvement.

Tougher laws, cops, even driver testing can only do so much to ease the increasing irritation on our highways and byways.

A simpler solution could be staring back at us in our rearview mirrors.

(QMI Agency files)


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2 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:03 am

grumpy old man

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I think drivers are more stupid. Not sure what is behind that. Perhaps it is because drivers are getting older?

I do get angry at stupid moves. I also hate tailgater's. And people that turn left at intersections where prohibited during rush hour.

As to the courtesy wave? Damned right. If I allow you in I expect a simple wave of thanks. I don't get angry, but maybe the next time someone wants to jump in then maybe I'm less likely to do it.


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Yes, I really am that Grumpy...

It's their, they're and there; in Canada it's colour, cheque, rumour and zed...

3 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:12 am

Guest

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I'm starting to believe that a lot of the problem is driver frustration, which is the result of very poorly designed and operated roadways.

Drivers become frustrated and do things they shouldn't have to do.

But, in general, I don't find drivers any different than years ago personally.

4 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:03 am

grumpyrom

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My biggest pet peeve, people who mash the gas the second they see you put your turn signal on to change lanes into a 2 car length gap. Apparently that is "their" gap and they are ok with having that gap, as long as no one is trying to move into it. I find that to be an annoyingly Winnipeg only trait. It's amusing that one can change lanes with ease at 75 MPH on the I-94 in Minneapolis in bumper to bumper traffic, but you try it on Main St. or Portage Ave. at rush hour at 25 KPH and the second that blinker comes on the a-hole behind you decides to gun it.

A close second, people driving in the left lane 15 KMH less than the posted speed limit either blocking the ability to pass them or forcing you to pass on the right. They really need to clue in that if they're being passed on the right they are in the wrong lane.

Honourable mentions to those who stop at 2-way stops when they have no stop and wave you through, people who still treat the traffic circles as four-way stops, people who block cross streets when stopping at crosswalks (especially on Corydon in summer) and another Winnipeg only creation the "I don't know how to merge" driver.

Many incidents of road rage I'm sure are caused by drivers who are just clueless pissing off everyone else around them.

5 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:22 am

USApegger

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People who drive on Pembina, say I am going north during rush hour and they are pulling out of a store. Rather than turning right, get into traffic and move over to the left to do a u turn perhaps a couple blocks down the road, they expect all cars to stop so they can cross over all 3 lanes to go south.

6 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:48 am

Deank

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JTF wrote:I'm starting to believe that a lot of the problem is driver frustration, which is the result of very poorly designed and operated roadways.

Drivers become frustrated and do things they shouldn't have to do.
.

100% this.

Look at Grumpyroms post.. It mentions merging on the I-94 in Minneapolis as an example and YUP.. its possible because its designed properly. Our "merge" lanes are often non existent and when they do exist they are not long enough for someone merging to get up to speed.. The ODD time they are long enough... the morons have actually added multiple entrance and exit points on the lane which causes accidents. Case in point.

West bound Grant to Kenaston North bound. perfectly designed to drive at speed around that corner to head north and tbone some moron pulling out of that entrance, side swipe somone trying to go into the entrance or rear end someone who is turning too slow.


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7 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:15 am

grumpyrom

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Deank, regarding I-94 I meant a simple lane change...how is it easier at those speeds in bumper to bumper traffic to change lanes than here at 1/4 the speed? But your post on merging is also correct, some of our merging lanes are very poorly designed. On the other hand some are just fine (Northbound Pembina onto Bishop Grandin eastbound) and people still can't figure out not to stop at the bottom of the merging lane. In a way I'm glad we don't have more of them as it seems like a large group of Winnipeger's have no clue how to use them.

On a side note, I'm always floored at how many Winnipeger's will say they refuse to drive in places like Minneapolis because it's "too crazy". I find it to be a joy driving down there compared to Winnipeg. I'll take properly designed freeways over our surface streets any day. With turn-by-turn GPS navigation there is no reason to fear the big cities anymore. Winnipeg's road system just feels like one huge town that kept expanding with more and more intersections, it's really not all that different from Selkirk or Portage or Brandon for instance. The only difference being a much, much larger population using the exact same type of road system, even our closest resemblances to freeways are marred with traffic signals and intersections.

8 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:28 am

holly golightly

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I hate to say this but a lot of the case of bad drivers and driver frustration comes from the new immigrant drivers that we have in this city. Of course this is my perspective as a person who drives during rush hour as well as during the day. Rush hour in the morning is relatively smooth and the only idiots I seem to encounter are cab drivers around the HSC. But the ones I encounter during the day are needless to say, horrendous. Do they really understand the laws of the Canadian roads? Do they really know how to read/interpret the signs posted, for example the no left turns during rush hour and the times posted?

Yes our population is getting older so some of the frustration I deal with is the fact that seniors who really shouldn't be on the road are still driving and rather slowly at that which in itself is a hazard. But the immigrant drivers who think that once they have passed the drivers test here in Canada, can then revert back to how they drove in the home country really aggravate the crap out of me.

I have an example for you. A gentleman from a South American country takes his Manitoba drivers test and passes. Buys himself a car so he can take his wife out and about (they are both seniors, well into their 80's). While at his grand daughter's graduation ceremony at the MTC, parked in a parking lot, he backs into another car. Instead of doing what a law abiding citizen does (and what most are taught to do if you read the driver's handbook - leave your name and number on the car that you hit) he drives away. Because there are lots of witnesses who see the accident, they take down the plate number and provide it to the owner of the car that was hit. This owner reports it to MPI along with the police. So now instead of a friendly exchange of info, this gentleman is now being charged not only with 100% at fault but also with hit and run. If this would have been a teen on a graduated license, license would most likely be lost. But this gentleman's excuse to the police..."That's what I would have done in my country, thought it was ok to do here" He had only been in Canada 2 months before he got his license and cannot speak a word of English, has to have either his son or daughter in law interpret for him, including when he did his driving test!!! But because he is not on the graduated license program he will only be charged the same fees that you and I would be charged on our license come renewal time.

And then there are the young people who are allowed to get their licenses at 16!!! Given that today's teenagers have attitudes that exude "I deserve to have the world handed to me by everyone around me" and then the parents are buying them cars for their birthday/graduation and giving them the ability to drive with that same attitude...it is frustrating.

And finally, I will concur that if the people of Winnipeg were made to learn how to drive in places like I94 in Minneapolis or the interstate system in Chicago, courtesy would be demanded of you in those places, not just by a finger but by some other means of expression. Merging and multiple lane changes at high speed are amazing to see as well as to participate in when done properly and with the ease of knowing that you don't have to worry about road rage from the person you may have just cut off.

Thanks for letting me rant!!!


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9 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:42 am

Deank

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Deank, regarding I-94 I meant a simple lane change...how is it easier at
those speeds in bumper to bumper traffic to change lanes than here at
1/4 the speed?

Wider lanes, better traffic flow, no stop and go at improperly timed traffic lights so no one needs to BEAT the next person there , better signage,.no distractions from pedestrians or non properly merging traffic.


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10 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:34 pm

grumpy old man

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I think you'll discover there is a different attitude when driving on real freeways. I notice living in Toronto very few people sped up to close a gap on the freeways. But get on surface streets and those Toronto drivers are every bit as ignorant as Winnipeg drivers are purported to be.

Winnipeg drivers don't know how to enter a roadway properly because they've never been trained to learned to do it. Don't learn how to enter a highway or merge properly on the 401 and you die.


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Yes, I really am that Grumpy...

It's their, they're and there; in Canada it's colour, cheque, rumour and zed...

11 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:57 pm

Deank

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thats preposterous. no one has ever died on the 401.

....oh right.. never mind

http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-58343268/carnage-alley-ontario-highway.html


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12 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:07 pm

Goth_chic

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Will be driving the freeways of LA in October. I am a tad nervous and I won't be the one driving.


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13 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:10 pm

AGEsAces

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Odd...I was reading Ian Shanley's rant in yesterday's paper...and was thinking of posting on here about it.
For those who haven't seen the rant...it's here:

http://www.winnipegsun.com/2011/07/17/hang-up-the-phone

I sent him an e-mail today with the following:
Ok Ian,

Typically I think your column is amusing, and even sometimes informative.

But your rant Monday about cell phone users was just pointless and annoying.

First though, let me preface my comments with the fact that my career is Health & Safety. It is my job to determine risks and likelihood of incidents & injury.

Now…I DO agree with you that there is a risk to using a cell phone while driving (and ESPECIALLY texting). But, the risk of talking on the phone is no different than yelling at your kids in the back seat, eating a BigMac & Fries, or having a conversation with that back-seat driver who’s sitting right next to you. (texting definitely has higher risks).

The ridiculous law that got passed does nothing, but give cops a new “target” to raise money from.

It does NOT make the roads safer, it does NOT make better drivers, it does NOT SAVE LIVES!

The other insulting part of it, is that there were ALREADY laws in place to address the problem.

Depending on where you live, theres Negligent Driving, Driving with Distraction,
Reckless Driving, Careless DrivingALL of those apply IF an incident occurs. And that brings me to the next issue

IF an incident (ie. vehicle collision, weaving lanes, running a red light, other law broken) occurs, and it can be proven someone was ___________ (insert distraction here), then throw the book at them. UNTIL thengiving people a ticket for talking on the cell phone, is like charging someone with armed robbery for carrying a knife.

If the government REALLY wanted to address safety on the roads, they would make the licensing process more difficult. Theyd stop listening to the cry-babies who say teenagers deserve to get their license because I got mine when I was 15”…because when they were 15, there were half as many vehicles on the road.

Make the driving tests harder, more akin to TODAYS driving. Require it to be taken in a testing area that can simulate poor weather (preferably ice & snow in this climate). Require distractions to appear(like a dumb cyclist riding off a sidewalk somewhere) or a ball being thrown in the street. Require all testing to be done in ENGLISH (in Manitoba), since ALL roadsigns are written in Englishso taking a test in Swahili isnt
going to get you around town safely. And also REQUIRE retesting every 5 years! Full written and road tests, since laws and environments change over time.

All that saidI do get disgruntled when I see some idiot blabbing away on his cell phoneweaving around or holding up traffic. And since its now a law (albeit useless)surehand out tickets to those who cant seem to drive (but they typically cant
drive anyway). But your rant about how dangerous it is was too muchas its still no more dangerous to talk on the phone, than to drink that steaming hot (or freezing cold) double-double from Timswhich Im sure would make the situation much worse if dropped on your lap to avoid that stupid cyclist hopping off the sidewalk.

While GOM's article may imply enforcement doesn't count...it does.
If the cops would enforce the "little" things...then fewer people would commit larger offenses.
But when there are 6 cyclists riding on the sidewalk, and a 3 cop cars drive by without even waving them off onto the road,
or when morons are turning left from a single-lane to a two-lane road into the right lane...with cops following them

more and more people will think that it's "OK" to commit these crimes...and like the gradual inclination from pot to crack...finding an excuse that says it's "OK" to break another law...and then another...is just making it worse.

yeah...not everyone will gradually increase their crime levels...like not everyone will experiment with harder drugs...but most people who use pot...keep using...just like those who think it's ok to stop in a no stopping zone (yes, I'm talking to you moronic taxi drivers out there)...keep stopping.

http://www.photage.ca

14 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:33 pm

grumpy old man

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Cyclists: gateway vehicle to stupid driving... Smile


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15 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:36 pm

Triniman

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I'm always helping my fellow motorist when I reasonably can. You give people a break and you'll get some in return - karma.

I'm not one of those people who engage in road rage due to the failings of other drivers around me. I can't control what they do, so I just brush it off and go on my merry way. Getting upset after the fact won't do anything, especially when the offending driver wouldn't notice my response anyway.

Sure, I have the occaisional driver ahead of me who doesn't know how to merge but I try to not it bother me. If someone cuts me off, I might get annoyed briefly but I don't dwell on it.

But what I don't like at all, is when someone tailgaits. I'd love to see the cops the laws here.

I wonder what the practicality and legality would be to have an LED sign mounted low on your rear window that could flash a variety of messages, like "Stop Tailgaiting" and "Thanks."

Cyclists. Too many of them seem to think traffic laws don't apply to them. I'd like to see more arrested.


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16 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:41 pm

Deank

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"I wonder what the practicality and legality would be to have an LED sign
mounted low on your rear window that could flash a variety of messages,
like "Stop Tailgaiting" and "Thanks.""

They make license plate covers that can flash different messages.

The first design was hooked up to run constantly... apparently not that legal so the new design only works on brake light activation. So.. that actually works too.

Has a remote that you can program the message with


http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/4/Auto/AutoCustomPerformance/LicensePlateFrames/PRD~0372355P/ePlate%252BDigital%252BLicense%252BPlate%252BFrame.jsp?locale=en

probably not too hard to mess with the design a little and put in your back window and power off of running lights.


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17 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:35 pm

FlyingRat

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The only drivers that are getting better are the ones that you carry in a golf bag!


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18 Re: Are drivers getting worse? on Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:55 pm

darkwind

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It;s not just drivers, imo. People are less courteous in general these days. Less likely to "assume goodwill" or cut the other guy some slack, but also less likely to be inclusive or welcoming in their own behaviour. In traffic that would be driving in ways that allow for the movement of others, not just self-focus on where you are going.

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