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Insurance survey says many Canadian drivers likely to speed over May long weekend

An insurance survey suggests many drivers are taking advantage of empty roads due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An insurance survey suggests many drivers are taking advantage of empty roads due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Getty Images

It’s the unofficial start of summer for many across the country but according to the results of a survey conducted by a Canadian insurance aggregator, plenty of people will be engaged in dangerous behavior over the May long weekend.

The research, conducted by Insurance Hotline, found that almost 13 per cent of Canadians intend to travel to the cabin over the weekend, despite health advisories in most provinces to curb any travel.

A further 41 per cent preferred not to say whether or not they intended on heading to cottage country.

READ MORE: Cottage country mayors urge extreme long weekend caution to protect locals from coronavirus

Similarly, 34 per cent of people surveyed admitted they’d likely take advantage of less-busy highways and speed this weekend — even if it’s only 5-15 km/h over the limit.

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Insurance Hotline’s Anne Marie Thomas told 680 CJOB that less-populated provinces like Manitoba could see even more speeding due to emptier roads during the pandemic — as well as the easing of some restrictions that had been put in place due to the pandemic.

“Because the roads seem to be less-travelled, there seems to be an increase in instances of speeding… and speeding excessively in some cases.

“It’s not worth it to take the chance from a financial perspective, and if you get into an accident doing excessive speed, your risk of survival lessens with each 10 km/h you go over the limit.”

READ MORE: Speeding on empty streets amid COVID-19 spurs warnings from police

Thomas said older respondents admitted to speeding less than the younger demographics — but as the survey involved self-disclosing dangerous and/or illegal activity, the results depend in large part on what individuals consider to be “speeding.”

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“Very often, many people travel between 10-15 km/h over the posted limit when there’s no one around,” she said. “I’ve done it myself, I will admit.”

“How truthful to we want to be? Do people consider it speeding if everyone is going at that same rate of speed?

“The excuse could be, ‘I’m just keeping up with the flow of traffic, so I’m not really speeding per se’… well, yes you are.”

RCMP and Winnipeg police have handed out a number of high-priced speeding tickets since the pandemic began — similar to most other jurisdictions across the country.

READ MORE: Teen clocked going 308 km/h on QEW in dad’s car: OPP

Robert Martin, chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police’s traffic safety committee, told Global News a quarter of all road fatalities nationwide involve speeding.

“We are still enforcing the laws. And there are consequences to the behaviours you adopt behind the wheel of a car,” said Martin.

“By driving at those speeds, they’re putting themselves and the other road users in danger.”

The Insurance Hotline research was conducted between May 6-12 via two Google Surveys — one regarding speeding (1,019 respondents) and one about the likelihood of visiting a vacation property (1,364 respondents).

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For both surveys, respondents were Canadian drivers who indicated they were 18 years of age or older.