Onlia’s Calmedy Commute – Rob Gambino

Picture this: You’re in your car and it looks like it is going to be the perfect day. The sun is shining, the car windows are down, and you feel the sweet summer breeze. What starts off as a pleasurable and routine commute is interrupted suddenly by a hard brake. The left turning lane has been closed due to construction. You are forced to swerve to the right lane because another car decides to drive straight through the intersection. This was a hypothetical situation, but as a self-proclaimed road-rager, I was getting angry just thinking about it!

I had the opportunity to work with digital auto insurance provider, Onlia, on a campaign aimed at combatting road rage. Onlia is a new digital brand that deeply cares about safety.

Road rage is a major issue, especially in Toronto and the GTA. Did you know, that driving when angry actually makes you 10x more likely to crash? Onlia is on a mission to make Canada’s roads safer, so I participated in a week-long experiment where my authentic driving reactions were recorded and my driving was monitored.

Road rage can manifest in many different forms, from yelling and giving the finger to intentional tailgating and honking, it’s something all road users dread but can’t seem to completely avoid.


During the experiment, I listened to hour-long comedy podcasts, dubbed the Calmedy Commute, to see if laughter impacts instances of road rage. My car was fitted with a two-way dash camera to record my reactions and I wore a wristband that recorded my biometric data. I drove through high-volume areas during rush hour to test whether comedy calmed me down during high-stress road-rage moments.

In addition to the camera and wristband, I also utilized the Onlia Sense mobile app.  The app is a safe driving app designed to facilitate safe behavioural change, reward good drivers and make our streets, roads and highways safer. After each trip you take, you’ll see where you drove safely, and areas where you can improve. If you achieve a high drive score, you can unlock badges, and earn perks for completing safe driving challenges, like staying distraction-free and driving safely. The app scores you on factors like speed, braking, acceleration, contextual and cornering.

Using facial recognition software, biometric results and Onlia Sense data analysis, the team was able to determine if comedy played a role in my driving habits. Check me out in the video below!

Being a part of the Streets of Toronto team, I’ve seen Toronto’s culture in its truest form, from one street corner to the other. The city is big and beautiful and it’s important that we work toward keeping our streets and communities safe. A company like Onlia is encouraging Canadians to become safer drivers by coaching them to be their best and rewarding them when they succeed.

Participating in this experiment made me realize that some situations (like being stuck behind a street car on Queen Street) can heighten your feelings of being frustrated, annoyed and angry. Listening to comedy can be used as a tool to relax and help calm drivers down, which is a great to know the next time you’re behind the wheel.

Overall, it was an interesting experience that made me more aware of my driving habits and technique, road issues and how I can combat road rage with laughter. Looking back at the past week, I think this experiment had a lasting impact on my driving behavior and how I interact with other drivers on the road.

Interested in learning more? Below are three safe driving tips to consider the next time you hit the road.


Safe Driving Tips brought to you by Onlia

  1. Know your route. Program your destination into a GPS app before you start driving. However, not even a GPS app is guaranteed, especially in remote areas. Bring a detailed map or road atlas as backup


  1. Focus on the Road. Leave your mobile device alone when you’re behind the wheel. Minimize road chat and don’t eat on the go. Don’t forget to drive with your hands on the wheel at 9 & 3 (did you know that’s the right way to hold the steering wheel?)
  1. Maintain your cool
    If you do find yourself stuck in traffic, it’s best to stay patient. It will clear at some point, and when you do eventually get out of the traffic jam, don’t try to make up the time spent by speeding or tailgating. Driving aggressively will only improve your chances of getting a ticket or causing a collision.


Be sure to check out and learn more about their safety movement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!