- Survey of drivers across Ontario and the GTA conducted on behalf of 407 ETR reveals summer travel plans and attitudes about getting back on the road
407 ETR commissioned a survey through Innovative Research Group (INNOVATIVE) to gather the opinions of Ontario drivers about their summer travel plans and their comfort level getting back behind the wheel as many COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted. 407 ETR undertook this research as part of its ongoing interest in the road to recovery and to learn more about how the company can assist drivers in returning to the road safely.
“With the surge in online shopping and the transition to remote learning and working during the pandemic, day-to-driving for many people declined,” said Javier Tamargo, President and CEO, 407 ETR. “With Ontario now emerging from the third wave, we wanted to get a temperature check on how drivers are feeling about returning to the road – be it vacation plans or emergency preparedness. We anticipate a promising recovery as the Ontario economy comes back and regular activities resume.” The main findings of the survey are the following:
Taking a road trip is the top choice when it comes to travel this summer.
This year, 2-in-3 say they are considering a road trip this summer compared to 49% in an average year which makes sense given the decline in air travel and border restrictions still in place. Road trips are a particularly popular option for respondents who have not taken a vacation in the past 6 month or who are generally less likely to take winter vacations.
While Boomers (57 to 75) are often depicted as having the strongest relationships with their cars, they are the least likely to have the road trip habit. Gen Z (driving age to 24) has been less likely than Millennials (25 to 40) or Gen X (41 to 56) to road trip in the past but they are the most likely to plan to do so this summer.
How can the safety of Ontario drivers be improved?
Older Ontarians who have been driving longer report little difference in their driving confidence. However, nearly half (47%) of Gen Z respondents say they feel less confident behind the wheel than before COVID.
Only 1-in-10 (10%) have all three safety measures asked about in the survey. Most Ontario drivers have a roadside assistance plan (71%) or an emergency kit (52%), but very few have a high-visibility vest (14%). Lifelong Roadtrippers are mostly likely to have all three measures (14%) compared to other key segments. There’s a wide generation gap on roadside assistance, with Baby Boomers (83%) much more likely to have a roadside assistance plan than Gen Z (61%), as well as an eight-point gap on owning an in-car emergency car kit (55% Boomers to 47% Gen Z). Halton residents are more likely than York, Peel, or Durham residents to have a plan (80%) or a kit (60%).
Do drivers think they are prepared for road trips?
3-in-10 (31%) say they are ‘extremely’ or ‘very well’ prepared for an emergency, with a plurality landing somewhere in the middle thinking they’re ‘somewhat well’ prepared (41%). Only 6% say they are not prepared at all. Men (42%) are twice as likely to feel prepared than women (21%). There’s also a clear generational gap on this measure between Baby Boomers and Gen X, with approximately 34-35% feeling ‘extremely/very well’ prepared in contrast to Gen Z (22%) and Millennials (26%). Lifelong Roadtrippers (37%) are more likely to feel prepared than others.
A small number of Ontario drivers appear overconfident in their ability to handle a roadside emergency. Among those with none of the three safety measures in their car, 1-in-10 (11%) feels ‘very well’ prepared.