Canadian Driving Behaviours and Trends in 2021: Waze’s Year in Rear View

Fun facts and behaviours include 45% of Canadians belted the music to their favourite song while driving and 41% of Canadians do not plan to travel this holiday season

Waze's 2021 Year in Rear View (Graphic: Business Wire)

TORONTO--()--Ever wondered what types of locations Canadians drove to the most in 2021 or what the soundtrack was to this year’s drive? Waze answered these questions and more in its inaugural ‘Year in Rear View’ survey, which launches today. Using first- and third-party data, Waze takes a look back at our year in travel to see the places we drove the most, the music that kept us entertained, and what quirky driving habits we all shared during 2021.

Waze asked respondents in Canada, U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Israel, Brazil and Mexico about their behind-the-wheel driver behaviours, favourite forms of entertainment, fun facts and aspirations, and what they experienced on the road this year. Following a year where most of us stayed close to home, 2021 opened up new opportunities to hit the road and get back to travelling.

2021 Year in Rear View Results

Behind-the-Wheel Behaviours: What behaviours, trends or quirky habits did drivers showcase in 2021?

  • 70% of Canadians said shopping was the main reason they drove this year, with family visits (48%), visiting friends (37%) and commuting for work (36%) accounting for other top reasons for getting in the car
  • Residences and restaurants were top navigations for Canadians in 2021
  • 52% of Canadian drivers would wait patiently instead of using their horn if someone ahead of them wasn’t moving. 60% of those in the Atlantic region would wait compared to 48% from Central Canada
  • 66% of Canadian respondents are happy drivers, rating themselves an 8 or above (out of 10) compared to 60% globally
  • Older Canadians are more confident parallel parkers: while 38% of 18 to 24 year olds refused to parallel park in 2021, only 3% of those 65 and over refused
  • Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” was the 2021 song that best reflected Canadians’ year on the road (15%)

Entertainment: What kept drivers entertained this year?

  • Canadian artists topped the charts: globally, the top five songs drivers listened to via the Spotify integration on Waze included ‘STAY’ by The Kid LAROI with Justin Bieber (#1) and ‘Blinding Lights’ by The Weeknd (#5)
  • Sweets and candy were the top snack of choice for drivers globally, except in Canada and the U.S. where drivers prefer fast food
  • Listening to music was the top way Canadian drivers entertained themselves behind the wheel (82%), similar to the 76% of global respondents who did the same
  • When asked what they did while driving in 2021, Canadians showed regional differences:
    • 45% said they belted the music to their favourite song, but that number was higher in the Prairies at 54% and lower in Central Canada at 40%
    • 36% said they waved at another driver, but drivers in the Prairies were the most friendly with 48% waving, while only 29% of drivers in Central Canada waved

Driving Dreams: What were drivers’ wish-lists of favourite cars, passengers or aspirations for driving?

  • James Bond’s Aston Martin (40%) was the car of choice for Canadian drivers, followed by Batman’s Batmobile (24%)
  • Globally, Jennifer Lopez and Elon Musk are the top female and male celebrities who made headlines that drivers would most like to have in their passenger seat, while in Canada, Adele took top honours
  • 32% of Canadians would give up alcohol for a year in exchange for no traffic, while just 5% would give up their phones

Local Canada Navigations:

  • Between January 1 and November 2, 2021, August showed the highest increase in nationwide driving (+70%) compared to pre-COVID numbers
  • In what cities did Wazers drive the most this summer (June-September)?
  1. Toronto
  2. Montreal
  3. Mississauga, Ont.
  4. Laval, Que.
  5. Vaughan, Ont.
  6. Ottawa
  7. Brampton, Ont.
  8. Hamilton, Ont.
  9. Longueuil, Que.
  10. Québec City
  • Are you planning to travel for the holidays this year?
  1. No (41%)
  2. Yes, to another city/outside my local area (24%)
  3. Yes, within my city/local area (16%)
  4. I don’t know yet (15%)
  5. Yes, to another country (9%)

“Waze’s inaugural Year in Rear View gives us the chance to capture a snapshot of Canadian driving behaviours and help us better understand driving trends during 2021, a year when many of us got back to travelling on the road,” said Mike Wilson, Canada Country Manager, Waze. “We learned that Canadians showed a preference for beautiful scenery, while most drivers got on the road to visit family and go shopping over the last year. We’re looking forward to seeing how Canadians take to the roads in 2022 - a year we predict will see even more drivers on the road.”

Additional data related to travel and COVID-19 over the last year can be found at

**Research conducted by OnePoll between 10.27.2021 to 11.09.2021 using a sample of 11,000 adults in Canada, the UK, US, Brazil, France, Italy, Mexico and Israel. OnePoll are members of ESOMAR and employ members of the MRS.

About Waze

Waze is where people and technology meet to solve transportation challenges. It's a platform that empowers communities to contribute road data, edit Waze maps, and carpool to improve the way we move about the world. Thanks to Wazers everywhere, Waze is able to partner with municipalities and transit authorities to reduce traffic and congestion—leveraging current infrastructure while impacting city planning.

A world with better transportation doesn't have to be in the distant future. By harnessing the power of community to reverse negative trends in transportation, Waze can create a world where traffic is history.


Media Contacts:
Steve Gold / Cindy Watson
StrategicAmpersand Inc.

Release Summary

Waze announced its inaugural Year in Rear View survey, which looks back at our year in travel and the habits we all shared during 2021.


Media Contacts:
Steve Gold / Cindy Watson
StrategicAmpersand Inc.