The Globe and Mail has been conducting a research study of how the traffic flow changes during heavy congestion.
The study found the majority of people are not aware of the rules of the road.
The average speed on major highways is currently 20 km/h (12 mph), with many people travelling at speeds above 30 km/hr (19 mph).
On many highways, a person can travel at speeds exceeding 45 km/hour (24 mph), while some roads can be reached in less than 30 minutes.
“This is not something people are aware of,” said Mark Stott, a University of Ottawa professor of civil engineering.
“When people talk about the speed limit, it’s often associated with what you’re supposed to be doing, and not what you actually are doing.”
Stott said the research shows that many drivers may not realize that they’re being told to slow down.
“Most people aren’t aware of what they are supposed to do and are not being told how to react,” he said.
He said the results are a reminder to all drivers to slow, as well as to the importance of knowing how the rules apply to a person travelling at a high speed.
The road is not a highway and we’re not the highway, Stott added.
Stott and his co-authors examined data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Highway Patrol and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
The researchers looked at more than 11,000 highway fatalities between 1991 and 2009.
The authors found that more than 80 per cent of people who died on highways were not told they had to slow.
“There’s no way you’re going to get them to slow,” Stott explained.
“We are in a high-speed highway, which means you have a lot of cars going at the same time.”
The researchers found that on average, vehicles travel at 60 km/min (38 mph), although they can exceed this speed.
“In a situation where there is no traffic, there is a chance that you could get hit by a car, so you would need to slow your speed,” Stot said.
“It is very important that people understand that there are rules and guidelines and they should obey them.”
The study also found that when people slow down, they are less likely to get hit.
The speed limit is not an indicator of the risk of getting into a car accident, the study found.
“People are actually much less likely if they’re doing a slow walk,” St.ott said.
The survey found that people who were not slowed were more likely to say they felt safer walking in traffic, were less likely than people who slowed to get into an accident.
St.ett said this is because pedestrians and cyclists tend to travel at lower speeds than cars.
He added that people should slow down in public places, such as parks, to avoid being hit.
“If you want to get on a bus and it’s a very congested bus stop, you want people to slow as much as they can,” he added.
The paper is available at the journal Transport Research Part C: Traffic Dynamics and Behaviour.
The findings come as the federal government prepares to make changes to the Highway Traffic Act, including a new speed limit of 60 km.mph (128 mph).
The speed limits are the lowest in the country, and in some parts of Canada, motorists are being encouraged to travel with more caution.
The government announced on Wednesday that it would also be lowering the speed limits on major thoroughfares in some areas.
The changes, which will take effect in 2020, are part of a $8.9 billion overhaul of the Highway Safety Act.