Gatineau: Canada's Most Obnoxious Drivers Have a Lot to Learn from the Maritime Provinces
Gatineau has a lot to offer from great restos to cultural attractions. However, if you're looking for a pleasant drive on your way to experience what Gatineau has to offer, don't expect one. Having married someone from Gatineau, I have had to cross one of the bridges from Ottawa to family get togethers on the Québec side. And let me tell you that Gatineau drivers are the exact opposite of drivers in places like Charlottetown, PEI and parts of New Brunswick.
Charlelottetown drivers are truly "chivalrous" as other parts of the Maritimes in allowing you into traffic or lending a helping hand if you seem to be having car troubles. On more than one occasion while driving on a Trans Canada highway transporter trucks sensing I was in a hurry actually pulled over the shoulder to allow me to pass. Having seen this multiple times, I was quite impressed. By sharp contrast, let's talk about Gatineau. Never have I seen such consistent "asshole" driving anywhere in Canada.
In the above video you can see just a very small sample of the commonplace asshole driving in Gatineau.
In the Ottawa side, if there's bad weather out, and your car seems to be in trouble, rest assured that there will be multiple people asking you if you're allright. However, if your cell phone is dead, you will probably be waiting quite a long time for a Gatineau driver to be giving a damn about you.
I would estimate that across Canada, the average population of truly rude and obnoxious "asshole" drivers might be hovering around 5%.
In a city like Toronto, I would estimate that you might expect to find around 15% of the drivers hardcore obnoxious. Montréal has earned somewhat of a bad reputation, but I would say outside of some "interesting" driver habits around rush hour of seeking to rudely cut in to any open space on its highways, Montréalers tend to be responsible highway drivers. Downtown Montréal's streets can be very intense though. Montréal's city drivers tend to be not so courteous but I would estimate that 30% of its drivers would be hardcore obnoxious in downtown Montreal.
But, in Gatineau's I would estimate that a whopping 80% of its drivers to have hardcore asshole tendencies and that's what I don't like about visiting my wife's relatives.
Gatineau's drivers for the most part seem to lack any basic respect for respect and courtesy with respect to the rules of the road; and especially on its main highways - the 5 and 50.
Let me give you an example of the kind of asshole driving that's common on the 5 and the 50 in Gatineau. I'm coming from one of my wife's relatives get togethers travelling at about 11 pm at night at about 110 km/h on the 50 which has at that time no other traffic than me in the slow lane and one other driver that I spot in the rear view mirror travelling at a high velocity.
I would estimate at just over 150 km/h. So, I'm thinking that any second now this guy is going to shift lanes and travel past me in the fast lane. Would you believe that this idiot showed no signs to changing any lanes until I gave loud beeps which eventually got his attention?
And if you're from Ottawa or somewhere else travelling to Gatineau, don't think that this is in any way an isolated incident. Every time I travel into Gatineau there seems to be multiple idiots like this one travelling like they are on "crack" cocaine coming right toward my back - veering in and out of traffic; and on the shoulder as part of their "bobbing and weaving".
There seems to be an apparent epidemic in Gatineau of drivers who have no concept of sharing the road and will drive right into from behind if you're not paying attention along with its ubiquitous tailgaters. One of my "favourite" Gatineau moves is the "Gatineau Cut" where one of the locals who thinks there's way too much space behind you will slide right into you from behind nearly touching your back bumper.
One especially unique driving habit in Gatineau that I have not seen anywhere so prevalent is the locals just revving up their engines for no apparent reason in supermarket parking lot or on a supposedly residential street other than apparently wanting to hear the constant loud noise that is made. This is often accompanied by hot rodding. When driving in Gatineau streets, always watch of for someone seeking to travel 100 km/h down a 60 or 70 km/h street in some spontaneous macho race with a fellow Gatineau driver.
As a result of this macho asshole driving, I have seen cars totalled in supposedly slow driving city streets in Gatineau far worse than what I have seen on the Ottawa's main expressway which is the Queensway. And please don't think this asshole driving is limited to "young punks". I have seen apparent grandmothers to families with their kids driving like their "psycho".
So, my advice to you if you're seeking to travel into Gatineau is to watch your back and to expect a rather shocking culture of "asshole driving" that rivals many parts of the Third World.