Make-up or make out? What are you doing behind the wheel?

Canadians report witnessing many distractions but admit to few, according to RSA Insurance survey

TORONTO, May 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Turns out many of us are using the driver's seat as a place to apply makeup, fix our hair, shave, scream at other drivers, and make out: are you one of them? According to a survey commissioned by RSA Insurance, 63% of Canadians report witnessing other drivers applying makeup and 57% saw others fixing their hair; in contrast only 3% of British Columbians admitted to applying makeup and 9% to fixing their hair.  

"As we approach the first long weekend of the summer, we're encouraging people to pay attention to what they are doing behind the wheel.  Children in the backseat can be distracting, with 19% of British Columbians admitting to the distraction. If you are going on a trip with the kids in the car, pack a few items that are bound to keep them entertained so that you can focus on the road," says Pauline Kemp, Claims Director RSA Insurance in Vancouver. "But what's telling in these survey results is that Canadian drivers aren't owning up to their poor behavior behind the wheel."

The survey also found:

  • 24% of Canadians report seeing other drivers make out, while 3% admit to it themselves
  • 66% of Canadians have witnessed people driving with pets on their lap; less than 4% admit to doing it themselves
  • 60% of Canadians have watched other drivers scream/swear at other drivers, pedestrians, cyclist, while only 23% admit to that behaviour
  • 40% of Canadians report seeing other drivers screaming at passengers;  8% admit to doing that themselves
  • 61% of Canadians have seen other drivers distracted with the radio or GPS, while nearly half admit to that themselves

"We know that distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in an accident: no one wants to spend their long weekend in the hospital or worse. Pay attention to driving when you are behind the wheel," says Kemp.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid being distracted:

  • Check your route before you leave – study the map and input information into your GPS before heading off
  • Turn your phone off, or at the very least put it away. If you have to make or take an important call, pull over at a safe place
  • Check road reports, listen to weather forecasts, and follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Avoid driving in the dark and, if you're tired, pull over and rest or let another driver take a turn behind the wheel
  • Prepare children for the drive with a few items that will keep them entertained for the ride, along with some snacks and a drink
  • Ensure that pets are secured
  • Keep an emergency kit in the trunk: store items such as first-aid supplies, a flashlight, blanket, your mobile phone charger, batteries, matches, a candle, and a non-perishable snack and water. 

For more information, or to find a broker near you, visit

A survey of 1436 Canadian drivers was completed online between April 28 and May 1, 2014 using Leger's online panel, LegerWeb.

A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About RSA
With a 300 year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK, Scandinavia, Canada, Ireland, Asia and the Middle East, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe and has the capability to write business in around 140 countries. Focusing on general insurance, RSA has around 23,000 employees and, in 2013, its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

About RSA Canada
RSA Canada includes Roins Financial Services Limited, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, Quebec Assurance Company, Johnson Inc., Western Assurance Company, Ascentus Insurance Ltd., Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company, RSA Travel Insurance Inc./Assurance Voyage RSA inc., and is part of the RSA group of companies headed by RSA Insurance Group plc. RSA Canada employs approximately 4,000 people and is represented by a large network of brokers across the country. In 2013, the Canadian Group wrote $3bn in direct premiums with assets exceeding $8 billion. ©2014 Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved. RSA, RSA & Design, RSA Insurance, RSA Insurance & Design and related words and logos are trademarks and the property of RSA Insurance Group plc, licensed for use by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. RSA is a trade name of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada.


For further information: Christine Siemiernik, Senior External Communications Consultant,, (w) 647-776-9404, (c) 416-274-1448; Susie Nick, APEX PR,, (w) 416-934-2125, (c) 416-995-1005


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