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Americans confess to many bad driving habits

The following survey data was collected by U.S. News & World Report

KSNF/KODE — For most people in the United States, driving is a necessary part of everyday life. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration claims that U.S. drivers logged 3.27 trillion miles between March 2021 and March 2022.

Recently, U.S. News & World Report surveyed 2,000 U.S. drivers ages 16 and older (46% male and 54% female) to learn more about their driving habits, using the third-party survey platform Pollfish.

The majority of survey respondents (63%) say they have had a driver’s license for more than a decade. More than half were taught to drive by a friend or family member (58%) and more than a quarter (27%) picked up their skills in a driver education class in school.

Graphic image courtesy: U.S. News & World Report

With friends and family being the primary educators when it comes to driving, the assumption might be they are the same ones that pass along bad habits. Survey results show the complete opposite. The majority of U.S. drivers (60%) take full responsibility for their own bad driving habits, while others say their friends (12%) and family members (28%) taught them unsafe driving behaviors.

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When it comes to bad driving behavior, road rage is perhaps the most common among those surveyed. A majority of drivers (64%) admit to having experienced road rage while behind the wheel, while 27% say they have driven with passengers who act out.

Another bad habit is speeding. More than half of American drivers (51%) admit to speeding, while 25% say passengers have pressured them to speed. That risky behavior can come with major consequences: Tickets, fines, higher insurance rates, injuries and even death. For more than 20 years, speeding has been a factor in nearly one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In addition to speeding, other unsafe driving behaviors drivers admit to include failing to use their turn signals (30%), not wearing a seatbelt (28%), rolling through stop signs (27%), and driving with a pet in their lap (25%).

Technology also plays a large role in bad driving habits, particularly when it comes to cell phones. Some 40% of drivers say they look at their phone while at a red light, while 27% admit to texting while driving. What’s more, 12% of drivers surveyed say they will look at their phone if they get a message while driving and 8% say they regularly look at their phone while driving. About one-fifth of survey participants (22%) say they have been in a car accident caused by someone being on their phone.

Fatigue is another factor according to the survey. Some 37% of drivers over the age of 16 admit to driving while feeling too tired. Nearly one in three (31%) say they have almost dozed off while behind the wheel, while 11% admit to falling asleep while driving. The NHTSA estimates that over 100,000 police-reported crashes due to driver fatigue occur each year. These crashes result in more than 71,000 injuries and $12.5 million in monetary losses.

Drivers aren’t alone in displaying bad habits while on the road. Among the findings, two-fifths (40%) of those surveyed say they have driven with passengers who didn’t wear a seatbelt. What’s more, 20% admit to driving with passengers who were drinking alcohol, while 15% say they’ve driven while passengers smoke marijuana.

Finally, more than a quarter (27%) of respondents say that when they themselves are passengers, they are prone to being a “backseat driver” and nagging the person behind the wheel.

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