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New Survey Reveals Driving Pet Peeves
Drivers Find Little Wrong with Their Own Driving Habits,
But Plenty in Others'

As you sit in your car fighting traffic, you can take comfort in knowing that the vast majority of drivers around you describe their driving behavior as "safe," "reliable," confident" or "smart." You may take less comfort in knowing that many of these same drivers also admit to driving fast or driving after drinking.

Allstate's "You Are What You Drive" survey reveals how people describe themselves as drivers is often at odds with how they actually drive. The Allstate survey reveals both serious and fun information about American drivers' opinions about issues ranging from dream road trips to the annoying driving habits of others.

According to the Allstate survey, 90 percent of American drivers believe they are "safe" drivers and 79 percent consider themselves to be "cautious" drivers. However, the survey also reveals that one in three drivers admit to being a "fast" driver and almost all admit to having "raced" with other drivers on at least one occasion. And 22 percent admit to having driven after having had three or more alcoholic drinks in the past five years.

"We're not surprised to learn that people feel good about their own driving habits," said Todd DeYoung, vice president and acting chief marketing officer, Allstate Insurance Company. "Unfortunately, the facts don't always agree. Perhaps this is a wake-up call that people need to pay better attention to their driving habits."

Let Me Drive!

When it comes to getting behind the wheel of their cars, 53 percent of drivers say they enjoy driving "very much," with 48 percent agreeing that they feel a "sense of freedom" when driving. In fact when choosing from a list of several possibilities, 42 percent of drivers selected a cross-country drive as their dream vacation rather than a trip through the Grand Canyon or Alaska.

However, while American drivers may dream of the open road, the reality apparently is that people use their cars primarily for running errands and getting to work. Fully 75 percent of drivers said they have not taken a driving trip during the past year that lasted longer than one day, and 63 percent said they have never taken a road trip that lasted more than six hours.

In identifying the major uses of their car, 79 percent of those surveyed cited errands, 74 percent said grocery shopping, and 60 percent said commuting to and from work. Only 35 percent cited vacation. ll Take the "Cheap" Stuff

Insurance is a fact of life for car owners, but that doesn't mean they spend a lot of time thinking about it. In fact, 17 percent of those surveyed admit they have "no clue" what their insurance would cover in case of an accident.

And when it comes to buying auto insurance, cost is the overwhelming consideration when asked to choose from some possible criteria. More than six in ten (64 percent) responded that cost is their top consideration in buying insurance, while 28 percent cited "reputation of the company" as the most influential factor. However, when factoring the cost of auto insurance into the purchase of a car, only 16 percent viewed it as an "important consideration."

"It's not just safe driving that people should pay attention to," DeYoung said. "Making sure you have adequate auto insurance coverage is equally as important."

Litter Bugs, Tailgaters Among Top Drivers' Pet Peeves

On the lighthearted side, the Allstate survey shows that American drivers have strong opinions about the most annoying habits of other drivers. When asked about a list of behaviors, nearly nine in ten drivers said they are very annoyed when other drivers "drive too close," "throw trash out of the car window" or "don't use their signals." Following closely behind, 84 percent responded they're very annoyed by others who "drive slow in the passing lane," while 83 percent cited drivers who "weave in and out of traffic."

Rounding out the list of most-annoying habits of other drivers were "hogging the road," cited by 71 percent of respondents, "riding the brakes" (69 percent), and "talking on their cell phone" (61 percent).

For Better or For Worse, Americans Have a Unique "Car-ma"

Many drivers admitted to a strong emotional relationship with driving and their cars, ranging from those who "love their car" (26 percent) to those that consider driving "a sport" (six percent). Only 18 percent admitted negative feelings toward their car, calling it "just a way to get from one place to another."

For 24 percent of survey respondents, "driving gives them a true sense of freedom," while 14 percent said their car is "an expression of who I am in life." And nine percent of those surveyed said their car "is the center of my life."

Do you have a name for your car? Allstate discovered the following about car names:
  • By far the most common name is Betsy (mostly Betsy, some Betsey)-- 26 citations in survey.

  • If you add in Bessie or Bessy, there are an additional eight entries listed (and one Bessie Lou).

  • Girls' names are more popular than boys' (some examples of girls' names include: Marie, Minnie, Molly, Agnes, Bella, Diana, Ginger, Nellie, Ruthy, Tammy and Vanessa).

  • Blue is popular with a total of five entries, not counting Big Blue, Blue Beast, Blue Bertha, Blue Sapphire, Blue Bomb, Bluebell, Bluebird and Blueboy

  • Red is also fairly popular, but not on its own (only two "Red" citations). Big Red, Red October, Big Red One, Big Red Truck, etc.... also Red Baron, Red Car, Red Dragon, Red Racer, Red Robin and, of course, Red Hot Mama!

  • Green is probably the next favorite color. Entries include: Green Burrito, Green Goblin, Green Hornet, Green Weenie, Green Machine (most popular green name) and, of course, Green Meanie!

  • People seem to have lots of issues with their cars! Examples include: Little Blue Piece of Shit, Damn Mean Machine, Elizabitch, Fugly, Garbage Barge, Gutless Wonder, Mini Van of Doom, Piece of Shit, Rondi the Bitch Car, Car from Hell and Tin Can with Wheels.

  • Two optimists named their cars Titanic. We also have Trouble, The Hearse, Grunt, 8-ball, The Chicken, and Barfmobile.

  • Some other notables include: Beepbop, Boris Badanov, Carry #2, Grocery Getter, Persephone, Saabena, Pimped-Out Mom-Mobile and Beeheemyth (a van).

The Allstate "You Are What You Drive" survey was conducted for Allstate by RoperASW. Interviews with 2,500 car owners were conducted online from August 8 to August 15, 2003. The survey was conducted among an online population of U.S. car owners and has been weighted to reflect the population of U.S. car owners as a whole. The sampling error on the total sample is plus or minus 2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Sampling error for sub-groups is higher.