Canadians On Summer Driving Issues: Ipsos-Reid Survey

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Toronto, ON – June 21, 2004 According to a new Ipsos-Reid survey conducted on behalf of Michelin, the summer driving condition 46% of Canadians with a valid drivers’ license fear most is “severe rain and thunderstorms or hail.” In fact, two-thirds (66%) of Canadian drivers have experienced “impaired vision” while driving in the rain, half (49%) have had “problems skidding or not stopping on time,” one-quarter (23%) have experienced “poor steering response to things such as turning a corner or changing lanes,” and 7% have experienced “loss of control of their vehicle resulting in an accident.”

Given a list of four conditions, just three in ten (29%) Canadian drivers correctly identified “the first raindrops” as the condition that makes roads the most slippery. Respondents did better with questions regarding hydroplaning. Once told, “when water collects on the road, your vehicle can hydroplane. In other words, the vehicle’s tires lose their contact with the road and have little or no traction and you may not be able to steer or brake,” 62% of Canadian drivers rightly agreed with the statement, “low tire air pressure increases the likelihood of your vehicle hydroplaning” and 53% correctly agreed that “to avoid hydroplaning you should drive in the tracks of the vehicles ahead of you when it’s raining.” However, 60% erroneously agreed with the statement, “hydroplaning only occurs when vehicles are travelling at speeds of 40km/hr or above during rainy weather.”

Prior to this, a majority (86%) of Canadians with a valid drivers’ license said they had heard of “hydroplaning.”

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid/Michelin poll conducted from June 4th to June 7th, 2004. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1000 adult Canadians was interviewed by telephone. A total of 873 or 87% of those interviewed have a valid drivers’ license. Only those respondents with a valid drivers’ license completed the survey. With a sample of 873, the results are considered accurate to within � 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population with a valid drivers’ license been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.

The summer driving condition 46% of Canadians with a valid drivers’ license fear most is “severe rain and thunderstorms or hail.” One-quarter (23%) fear “fog” the most, 19% “sun glare,” and 6% “extreme heat.” The remaining 6% say none of these weather conditions are the one they fear most.

  • Canadian drivers 18-34 years of age are more likely than their elders to fear “severe rain and thunderstorms or hail” the most (49% vs. 39%), while those 55 and older are more likely than those who are younger to fear “fog” the most (30% vs. 20%).

  • Women are more likely than men to fear “severe rain and thunderstorms or hail” the most (51% vs. 41%).

Two-thirds (66%) of Canadian drivers have experienced “impaired vision” while driving in the rain. The remaining 34% have not.

  • Residents of Quebec (88%) are significantly more likely than others to have experienced “impaired vision while driving in the rain.” The findings for other regions: British Columbia (57%), Ontario (57%), Atlantic Canada (64%), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (67%), and Alberta (68%).

Half (49%) have had “problems skidding or not stopping on time.” The remaining 51% have not.

  • Canadian drivers 18-34 years of age are more likely than their elders to have experienced “problems skidding or not stopping on time” (53% vs. 39%).

  • Men are more likely than women to have experienced “problems skidding or not stopping on time” (54% vs. 43%).

One-quarter (23%) has experienced “poor steering response to things such as turning a corner or changing lanes.” The remaining 76% have not.

  • Men are more likely than women to have experienced “poor steering response to things such as turning a corner or changing lanes” (29% vs. 18%).

Just 7% have experienced “loss of control of their vehicle resulting in an accident.” A strong majority (93%) has not.

  • There are no statistically significant demographic differences for this question.

Given a list of four conditions, just three in ten (29%) Canadian drivers correctly identified “the first raindrops” as the condition that makes roads the most slippery. Four in ten (37%) incorrectly chose “rain combined with wind,” 24% said “more than 5 mm of rain,” and 7% picked “rain combined with humidity.” The remaining 2% responded “none of the above” (1%) or “don’t know” (1%).

  • Residents of British Columbia and Ontario were most likely to have correctly identified “the first raindrops” as the condition that makes roads the most slippery (39% in each province).

  • Canadian drivers 35-54 years of age (33%) were most likely to have correctly identified “the first raindrops” as the condition that makes roads the most slippery, followed by those 55 and older (28%), and finally those 18-34 years of age (23%).

  • Men were more likely than women to have correctly identified “the first raindrops” as the condition that makes roads the most slippery (33% vs. 25%).

Once told, “when water collects on the road, your vehicle can hydroplane. In other words, the vehicle’s tires lose their contact with the road and have little or no traction and you may not be able to steer or brake,” 62% of Canadian drivers rightly agreed (33% “strongly agree,” 29% “somewhat agree”) with the statement, “low tire air pressure increases the likelihood of your vehicle hydroplaning.” Three in ten (29%) disagreed (19% “somewhat disagree,” 10% “strongly disagree”) and 9% said they “don’t know.”

  • Canadian drivers 18-34 years of age are more likely than their elders to have agreed (66% vs. 54%).

Half (53%) correctly agreed (21% “strongly agree,” 33% “somewhat agree”) that “to avoid hydroplaning you should drive in the tracks of the vehicles ahead of you when it’s raining.” Four in ten (42%) disagree (20% “somewhat disagree,” 22% “strongly disagree”) and 5% said they “don’t know.”

  • There are no statistically significant demographic differences for this question.

Six in ten (60%) erroneously agreed (28% “strongly agree,” 32% “somewhat agree”) with the statement, “hydroplaning only occurs when vehicles are travelling at speeds of 40km/hr or above during rainy weather.” One-third (36%) correctly disagreed (19% “somewhat disagree,” 17% “strongly disagree”) and 4% said they “don’t know.”

  • Canadian drivers 55 years of age or older are more likely younger adults to have erroneously agreed (66% vs. 58%).

  • Men are more likely than women to have erroneously agreed (63% vs. 57%).

Prior to this, a majority (86%) of Canadians with a valid drivers’ license said they had heard of “hydroplaning.” Just 14% said they had not.

  • Residents of Atlantic Canada (99%) are most likely to have heard of “hydroplaning,” followed by residents of Alberta (96%), British Columbia (91%), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (89%), Ontario (84%), and finally Quebec (76%).

  • Men are more likely than women to have heard of “hydroplaning” (90% vs. 82%).

  • Canadian drivers with a high school diploma or more education are more likely than others to have heard of “hydroplaning” (88% vs. 70%).

About Ipsos

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