Saturday, November 21, 2009

Toronto's Pet Peeves for Driving

A couple of weeks ago, I asked Toronto via Twitter and Facebook, "Hey Toronto. What's your biggest pet peeve about other road users? Let me know. I'll be writing about it."

Well, here is the writing about it and the results. I'm not surprised by any of the responses. Hey, I'm a driver too and what upsets me, are the same things that upset you. What did surprise me were the order of popularity of the responses.

Here are honourable mentions that didn't make the top ten. Fail to clear intersections, quick stoppers, late mergers, left on amber/red, fail to assist in passing, fail to lower high beams.

# 10 - Slow drivers.
I don't agree but it is your list. This wasn't laid out as drivers who are in the passing lanes too slow, but just slow drivers in general. Maybe it's not that they are too slow - maybe you are too fast.

# 9 - Slower moving vehicles that pull into your lane while you are travelling faster.
Often the driver looks only at the immediate space around them and not at the big picture of time zones and space.

# 8 - Late left turn signals.
Argh!! Drives me nuts too. Inconsiderate and by not communicating soon enough can really destroy traffic flow. If you would have let me know what you were doing, I wouldn't be stuck behind you now.

# 7 - Distracted Drivers.
Quickly becoming the norm for serious risks to public safety. 27 X increased risk in collision. By the way...hands free does not mean you are minimizing the distraction. It only means you are complying with the law. You are still distracted.

# 6 - Cyclists who disobey the HTA.
Only because this is your list did I include it. All of the responses have a degree of lawlessness to them but there were enough responses that specifically said cyclists, I had to include it here.

# 5 - Left lane bandits.
Most people think this is reserved for the expressways and freeways, but anytime there are multiple lanes you can see this happen. The order of populating lanes is from the right to the left and you only use the left lane for passing...pass over, return to the right.

# 4 - Unsafe lane changes.
These are horrible for so many reasons. The actions of unsafe lane changes can have a domino affect with other drivers over reacting and causing further problems.

#3 - Follow too closely.
Who doesn't get this? You are too close, vehicle in front stops, you can't stop in the space you left...problem. This is the laws of physics explained so simply anyone can get it.

# 2 - Lane cue cutters / Use lanes that end to ram themselves to the front.
This came in most described as the drivers who leave curb lane on an expressway jump on an entrance ramp and pass cars just to cram themselves back into the curb lane again. Illegal, rude, inconsiderate and for pass four or five you got so much further ahead.

# 1 - No signals,
By a land slide! No wonder, take a look and see how many people don't use their signals. What is very disturbing about this offence is that you can't fail to use your signal and not be causing a potential problem. Turn? Need to tell people about it. Lane change? Have to communicate with everyone.

So that's the way you responded. Watch for another question coming soon. In the meantime, here is my top 5...

# 5 - Amber and red light runners.
# 4 - Distracted drivers.
# 3 - Drivers who don't move over, slow down or get out of the way of emergency vehicles.
# 2 - Speeding / aggressive drivers
# 1 - Impaired Drivers.


  1. Absolutely hate drivers who feel that they take priority over emergency vehicles responding to a situation. Same with pedestrians who saunter into intersection during these moments.

  2. I have to wonder many amber/red light runners are because they were distracted vs. those just wanting to beat the light?

    We should also expand upon the concept of "impaired driver". Drinking and driving has been socially and legally unacceptable for over 20yrs but in-car distractions can cause drivers to be just as impaired as being legally drunk.

    The diffence could be argued that while driving drunk, the driver is consistantly impaired whereas someone talking on a phone (hands-free or not) is only impaired while on the phone talking/texting. Well this doesn't help much if a driver is talking or texting on the phone for the entire duration of their stint behind the wheel.

    A drunk driver may not be able to "sober up" when needed but lets not kid ourselves...neither can a distracted driver.

  3. Re-posted from a comment on my Facebook page...

    Sandi Porter:
    The rules of the road are kind of like the ten commandments if everyone obey them we could have paradise on the roads. it would be such a pleasure driving and everyone would get home safe.Its easy to put an end to the pet peeves just drive smart.

  4. I do't understand this obsession with speed being dangerous. On the autobahn i feel 100% safe driving 180km/h, in toronto i feel usafe no matter the speed because the drivers don't understand what the rules are or how to control their car.
    Perhaps instead of persecuting evil "speeders" you might advocate appropriate driver training that focuses on car control, observation and knowledge of rules.

  5. Annonymous;
    As you don't understand the issue regarding speed, I don't understand the comparissons we always hear to the Autobahns.
    You have to compare apples to apples.
    IF driver education, testing and qualifications were the same...
    IF road design and engineering were the same...
    IF vehicle safety standards were the same...
    IF death rates were similar...
    IF enforcement measures were the same...
    IF traffic volumes were the same...
    THEN we could talk about the Autobahns and Ontario Roads.
    The reality is that there is no comparison.
    The reality is speed kills..just ask anyone who crashes at 180 km/h.

  6. Annonymous,
    I had to reject your comment. First, I will not publish comments that identify an individual where they have no recourse to respond. Second, you mentioned a court process but didn't include how it concluded, so I could inadvertently allow a comment into an on-going legal matter.

  7. @traffic services communications

    You write:

    "IF driver education, testing and qualifications were the same...
    IF road design and engineering were the same...
    IF vehicle safety standards were the same...
    IF enforcement measures were the same..."

    I feel those are all achievable goals. Licences are far too easy to get in North America. Did getting perfect scores in all of my written tests — and the driving exams themselves — prevent me from spinning out the second week of driving? No. A lack of skill did — skills (IE skid control) that our government do not feel are important…otherwise we'd be tested on it.

    You must realize that most of the ease in getting a license was to make sure that anyone who wanted to buy a car could get one. Consumerism over public safety.

    Speed kills…so does drowning. But you'd caution someone who can't swim not to go into the deep end, right? So why don't we admonish drivers who can't handle their cars at 100 km/h?


  8. Hey Michael B.
    Thanks for the post...valid and interesting points, but a small correction;
    I would caution someone who can't swim to stay away from water.

  9. I don't understand this obsession with speed being dangerous blah blah blah ...

    Really? Unskilled drivers are unsafe at any speed but are loaded weapons when they reach speeds of 140 kph or more. Funny how everyone is a great driver all of sudden because of the few times they drove really fast on straight stretches of highway and didn't crash.


    Tim, we had a similar discussion on this post, "Re: Deadly weekend in Quebec leaves seven dead from road crashes, all victims under the age of 25" ->

    I see you've inherited one of our trolls. I'm sorry about that.

    Speed can kill. Just go and ask Earnhardt Junior about his daddy. Far as I know, it wasn't a natural death.

  10. Julie,
    "Really? Unskilled drivers are unsafe at any speed but are loaded weapons when they reach speeds of 140 kph or more."
    That is pretty much exactly what i said re: feeling safer in Germany vs. Toronto.
    Ontario drivers inluding most of the police I've seen) have no idea what car control is beyond some afternoon in a skid class.

    Who ever thinks traffic volumes are not equivalent in Germany has never driven between Munichand Stutgart on a week day.

    Autobahns are not anywhere near as straight as Ontario's highways.

    There is no excuse for not having our roads up to the equivalent specifications as their German counterparts.
    There is no excuse for not having YEARLY safety inspections.
    There is no excuse for police selectively enforcing rules and leaving people driving 30 or 40 km/h slower than traffic in the middle lane to do so and cause accidents.
    There is no excuse for Ontario taking as equivalent licenses from 2nd and 3rd world countries, and allowing these people to drive here with no further testing/education.
    There is no excuse for the ridiculous testing "regimine" in Ontario that has absolutely no portion dedicated to car control.

  11. Speed limits are too slow in Ontario. In the 70's we had speed limits of 70MpH(~115KpH.) Now with cars handling, stopping, and more fuel efficient we have lower speed limits. As well, the way speed limits are decided makes no sense. I see areas in rural north Durham roads that look like they should be 80KpH and are posted as 50KpH. There are roads that go from 80-50KpH in a short distance. By coincidence these are the same areas where police set up radar. Maybe police should deal with the people that do not use signals and have poor lane discipline.

  12. Coming to this discussion very late. As a pedestrian the things that terrify me the most and enrage me are drivers that do not pay attention to cross-walks, especially the driver of the car in the far lane. The other most common fright is from drivers that are waiting to make a right hand turn and are only looking to their left for their chance to turn. They don't look to their right and more often than not end up almost hitting the pedestrian crossing in front of them.

    I lived in Toronto for 25 years and have lived in Edmonton now for 1 year. Toronto drivers are generally good drivers. Selfish and in a rush, but good drivers. The drivers here are completely incompetent. It is shocking. Left hand turns from the right lane is the norm.