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What Are You Doing In Your Car?

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On: Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 4:12PM | By: Peter C Sessler

What Are You Doing In Your Car?

A recent survey conducted by Farmers Insurance Group has revealed some interesting tidbits of information concerning the American driver. Both men and women drivers are getting clean, close shaves and applying make-up on the way to and from work, among other things.

According the survey, 5.5 percent of men and 2.1 percent of women admit to shaving on their way to work. 18.7 percent of women and 1.3 percent of men are applying make-up, and 8 percent of men and women style their hair on the way to and from work. There’s no doubt that everyone wants to put travel time to the best possible use, but the problem is that these distractions make drivers inattentive and increase the chance of accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), inattentive driving ranks as the fourth highest factor leading to fatal accidents.

Besides shaving and applying make-up, Americans are doing a variety of other things while driving, from reading newspapers or books to changing their clothes.

The survey shows that one in ten people admit to reading while driving, while 5.6 percent admit to changing their clothes! Dashboard drummers make up 21.7 percent of the American driving population and 30.6 percent use their cell phones.

Driving to and from work is also used as a time for self-improvement or for family togetherness. More than 55 percent of the driving population use driving time as a brainstorming session or for mental organization. 32.7 percent meditate and 15 percent find commuting time to be quality, non-interrupted time with their children. 16 percent use the extra time to listen to books on tape.

In spite of all these distractions, 48.5 percent see themselves as excellent drivers and 41.4 percent think they are good drivers. It seems that the older the driver, the more confident he or she is—41 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds rank themselves as excellent drivers, while 64 percent of people 65 and older think they are excellent drivers. One-percent of the driving population considers themselves poor drivers.

There’s also a correlation between income and the type of activities done on the road. 29.2 percent of drivers with $100,000 plus incomes are dashboard drummers, while 19 percent of those with incomes less than $25,000 admit to being so. And the more money drivers make, the more they are likely to listen to books on tape (they can afford them). 21.3 percent of drivers with incomes over $100,000 listen to books on tape, while 10.8 percent of drivers with incomes of less than $25,000 do so.

According to another survey, this one done by futurist Watts Wacker, Americans have developed close bonds with their cars—sometimes closer than those with their families. Americans are holding onto their cars longer—85 percent owning a car that’s three or more years old—and are changing their view of cars from a status symbol to something that fulfills an inner need.

It’s only natural; cars are typically the second largest expenditure one makes, so the bonding process is almost inevitable. And people are doing more in their cars than ever before, which also helps to account for the fondness and kinship.

The survey also found that four out of ten men would prefer to kiss their car than their mothers-in-law. People in Los Angeles are more likely to smooch with their cars (41.6 percent) versus those in New York (26.8 percent) or Chicago (25.8 percent).

More than 33 percent of American men say they can afford a new car but prefer to keep the one they have. More women (31.2 percent) than men (25.5 percent) say they are as particular about choosing a garage as a day care facility for their child. And two out of five owners of cars older than three years, admit to giving their cars more check-ups than themselves.


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