Hundreds of Manitoba drivers admit to yelling, swearing or behaving aggressively when angered on the road, according to a new road safety survey by Manitoba Public Insurance.
Of 1,500 people included in the survey, about three in 10 said they committed acts of road rage after getting angry behind the wheel, the Crown insurance corporation said in a Monday news release, ahead of the launch of a new public awareness campaign.
Satvir Jatana, a spokesperson for MPI, said angry drivers are less likely to drive safely and might become distracted by their anger.
“Anger is often displayed by shouting, cursing or making rude gestures, or more rarely, extreme actions, such as forcing a car off the road and worse,” said Jatana.
“Not surprisingly, [angry drivers] are at a higher risk of causing or getting into a collision. Research confirms that those who drive anger-free have 35 per cent reduced odds of collision involvement.”
Common unsafe behaviours
The survey also found that four in 10 drivers admitted to making unsafe lane changes, and nearly three-quarters said they had sped up to get through a yellow light.
“The road safety survey confirmed many Manitoba drivers act out their anger in response to traffic situations and other road users,” said Jatana.
“As we work towards saving more lives on our roadways, we must embrace a new culture for drivers — including the belief that one fatality is too many and high-risk driving behaviours are no longer acceptable.”
Jatana said repeat high-risk driving behaviours like speeding and subsequent convictions can result in a driver having their licence suspended. Convictions can also cause a driver to move down on the driver safety rating scale, which determines the cost for a person’s basic Autopac premiums.
To raise awareness about angry driving, Manitoba Public Insurance is launching a public awareness campaign this month called “Friendly Manitoba,” which will focus on a middle-aged man who presents himself as a model citizen until he gets behind the wheel of his vehicle.
“Angry driving not only leads to a higher risk of collisions, it’s unsafe and unpleasant for other passengers and sets a poor example for the next generation of drivers — our children — and is counterintuitive to our culture of friendly Manitobans,” said Jatana.