Montreal’s Bad Drivers

In lieu of a post on this site, I’ve asked the readers of Metroblogging Montreal where the reputation for bad drivers in Montreal comes from. Feel free to comment there or here if you like. I ask because I found driving here to be quite a refreshing change. I thought I might be mistaken, but I’m reminded everytime I return to Chicago. Read the post here.

In other news, time for blogging is becoming more and more difficult to come by. A good part of that may be because I’m sharing the available time with Flickr now. The ideas for posts are piling up, but I just haven’t had the time to sit down and flesh them out. Surprisingly our vacation at home has left me with even less time. Guess I’m missing those lunch hours.


~ by Frank on July 26, 2006.

10 Responses to “Montreal’s Bad Drivers”

  1. Montréal has bad drivers? Nothing compared to Ottawa where everyone is from a different part of the globe and drives accordingly. It’s the pedestrians who rule in your city!

  2. I think the diversity in the center city here likely rivals that of Ottawa. As with most places, the taxi drivers, who are generally from other lands, seem to follow the manner of driving of where they are from. If you take them out of the equation, the general population drives relatively reasonably.

  3. Montreal has the worst drivers in Canada.The only People who think otherwise are people who live in Montreal.
    No one uses indicators, every one speeds at least 20km over the speed limit, people drink drive all the time or there stoned, people dont slow down in school zones the list goes on.
    the reason for this is because Montreal has a SHIT police force. Road rules are not inforced unless you run people over and yes that happens alot there.
    Im from Sydney ive lived in vancouver Toronto Montreal Halifax and St johns… i know what im talking about

    • Very true in your words. Montrealers race with ambulances, police cars, fire trucks too. Every driver from Montreal will be a qualified F1 Driver and a Monster Truck Driver.

  4. Mark, I’m a bit surprised you find that Toronto drivers aren’t as bad. I’ve found that they drive as bad or worse. Quite similar to drivers in the states. Though you could be right that the drivers in Montreal are some of the worst in Canada.

  5. This comment is a bit late given the date of the original blog but I’ll just put my 2 cents in because I, too, want to dispel the myth that Montrealers are the worst drivers in Canada 🙂

    I am originally from Montreal having lived there most of my life. Chicago is my favourite American city and yes, I have driven there on a number of occasions. Now I am living in Toronto. While all 3 cities have their share of bad drivers, I have to say that Montreal drivers are not that bad. Yes, they don’t signal or let you in. But you get really good at anticipating other people’s driving (like you can “sense” when you’re going to be cut off). Is this considered “bad driving”? Absolutely! But let me tell you about driving in Toronto … I get honked at all the time for actually following the rules.

    For example, a guy is tailgating me in TRAFFIC! I signal right because I am about to turn and he annoying honks at me.

    Another example, I am crossing a quiet street at the cross section on a green light. There are no cars in sight. A guy comes and turns right into me. I nearly get hit. I actually step back in surprise and make eye contact with a young driver. He sees me, looks embarrassed that he nearly hit me, and instead of stopping to let me cross the street, he actually continues to drive slowly – yet again, about to hit me.

    Still yet another example? I am driving in my first Toronto snow storm with my snow tires on and exiting unto a ramp. (Remember, I am from Montreal and know how to drive in snow, ice, blizzards … you name it. I just drive more slowly and make sure my winter tires are on.) Well, a huge truck tailgates me so close, he is actually about 3 feet behind me. My car is visibly shaking side to side because of the bumpy ice build up under the snow, but he doesn’t care because he feels empowered in his huge truck. (Might I add here, at this point, I am swearing furiously and honestly, fowl language is not in my vocabulary unless I’m under extreme automotive duress.)

    So while I agree that Montreal drivers are bad, I have had more “close encounters” here in Toronto than the 30 years I’ve been living in Montreal.

    As for Chicago, it has not been that bad for me … must be the foreign plate so everyone is more patient when I get lost driving around 🙂

  6. Well thanks I just want to post my two cents. Montreal driving is nerve racking. I was born here and have driven in many conditions here and around the world. I have driven in South America and Mexico, I have driven on the Asian mainland and many islands and I have lived and worked and driven in many European countries.

    Yet when I return to Montreal I am embarrassed at how aggressive and dangerous the driving is in my home town. I am no shrinking violet and know how to take care of myself yet when driving in Montreal I am completely frustrated at the aggression and danger on the roads.

    As far as I know a pedestrian always has the right of way even if they are in the wrong place. A car weighing thousands of pounds with hundreds of horse power is literally a weapon in the hands of a Montreal driver. Pedestrians beware, you can be a target for some of these drivers.

  7. Yes, after 8 years of living here, I am also frustrated with Montreal drivers. Especially on Friday evenings and those who race down our residential street.

  8. Toronto drivers are more aggressive. They will drive 160 km/h on the 401, tailgate until they are literally touching the car in front, weave in and out of traffic, and honk at you for stopping at stop signs.

    But Montreal drivers drive like they have escaped from a mental institution. They make sudden lane changes without warning, drive on the sidewalk, park in the middle of the road, drive backwards, etc. You will see things in Montreal you will not see anywhere else. I once saw a car drive backwards diagonally through an intersection onto the sidewalk, then reversing off the road onto train tracks in order to turn around.

    Of course, it the road infrastructure in Montreal doesn’t help. Road deterioration is a problem everywhere in Canada, because of the harsh climate, but the problem in Montreal is that the roads are often designed incorrectly in the first place. And once something is put into place in Montreal, it’s there forever. I can’t tell you the number of road signs in Montreal that are misleading or completely incorrect. Exit signs are often placed AFTER the exit. Traffic lanes sometimes disappear without warning. Lane lines are NEVER repainted, leaving motorists to decide for themselves how many lanes there are. A road might have 2 lanes one day, and three lanes the next. Buses crossing the Champlain bridge travel the WRONG DIRECTION on a divided freeway during the morning rush hour; that’s something you won’t see anywhere else in North America. Oh, and warning signs are written in extremely verbose and grammatically complex French paragraphs in tiny letters. No easy-to-understand pictographs like you find in Ontario.

  9. I completely agree about the 401. I remember once driving back to Chicago and I had this woman tailgating me when she always had the option of going around me. I pumped the brakes a few times and eventually just took my foot off the gas. After a while of slowing down, she finally got the point and pulled around me.

    As for the other points, I agree that there are bad drivers in Montreal and they often get on my nerves. But I am reminded during our annual trip to Chicago that drivers here are still better. Distracted driving is much worse in Chicago (believe it or not) and it is still rare in Montreal for drivers to pull into the right hand turn lane in order to gun it and pass the first cars when the light turns green.

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