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What's Your Driving Personality?
Survey Says American's Identify With Their Cars

You have your car keys and your morning coffee, but did you remember your driving personality? Better yet, did you realize you might be an "Auto-Bahner" who dreams of testing the boundaries of speed limits, or an "Auto-Pragmatic" who is fussy about the way others treat your car?

Allstate's "You Are What You Drive" survey reveals that how people describe themselves as drivers is often at odds with how they actually drive, or their driving "Car-ma."

"We are constantly trying to gain a deeper understanding of the driving habits of Americans," said Todd DeYoung, vice president, marketing, Allstate Insurance Company. "The survey not only revealed the depth of Americans' opinions about driving-related issues, but it also produced unique personalities, or 'Car-ma' based on actual driving actions."

The survey revealed five categories, each representing between 15 to 23 percent of American drivers. These groups reveal, for example, strong differences between men and women, car lovers and those who are indifferent about the driving experience. Allstate has named these groups "Auto-Bahners," "Auto-Matics," "Auto-Nomous," "Auto-Pragmatics" and "Auto-Pilots."

"Auto-Bahners": Seventeen percent of drivers fit this category, describing themselves as "fast" and "aggressive" but also as "good" drivers. Compared with other groups, Auto-Bahners are the most likely to admit getting angry when another driver cuts them off. However, most of these drivers also concede they like to enjoy the scenery when they drive.

  • They consider driving exciting and say that driving gives them a sense of freedom. They say their average cruising speed on the highway is 71 MPH - the fastest group - and they have clocked as fast as 93 MPH. Displaying their need for speed, eight in ten - more than any other group - admit they have driven more than 20 miles over the speed limit at least once. Most Auto-Bahners have been pulled over by the police in the past five years, and half have received a ticket for a moving violation.

  • In the past five years, one-third of Auto-Bahners have also driven after having three or more drinks - more than most of the other drivers. Finally, Auto-Bahners are more likely to be male (63 percent) than female (35 percent).

"Auto-Matics": Representing 23 percent of drivers, they are the least sure of themselves; in fact, this group is generally lukewarm about driving - 40 percent enjoy it, but the rest are either on the fence or dislike it. Auto-Matics are less likely than others to describe themselves as "smart" (63 percent), "practical" (50 percent) or "family-oriented" (52 percent).

  • Three-fourths of this group agree they are "safe" or "confident" drivers -- these proportions are smaller than the proportion of all other groups who say the same. More than 1 in 3 (34 percent) describe themselves as "laid-back" drivers, making them the second-most likely group to do so (behind "Auto-Nomous" and "Auto-Pilot" drivers, both at 39 percent).

  • While they will not win any races with Auto-Bahners, 40 percent of this group says they like to drive fast. About half say they love their car and many say the car they drive (although not driving itself) is important to them, though it is not more important than it is to most of the other groups. Four in 10 say they like it when people notice their cars, making them more likely than any other group to find this important. At the same time, they stand out from other drivers in that they are more likely than others to say they are "distinctly styled" (38 percent), "attention-getting" (32 percent), "trendy" (31 percent) and "extravagant" (22 percent).

"Auto-Nomous": These drivers represent 21 percent of respondents and describe themselves as "rugged" and "powerful." They like to enjoy the scenery, and they consider their cars to be a comfortable place to be.

  • Self-described "good" drivers, they enjoy driving very much and tend to find it relaxing. They love and take pride in their vehicles. They describe their cars as "powerful," "safe," "large" and "rugged" and are among the least likely to say their cars are "economical" - not surprising considering they are also most likely to drive a pickup truck or an SUV (about six in 10 drive one of these types of vehicles).

  • When considering a list of items they like least about driving, they are the most likely to complain about fuel prices. Two-thirds of Auto-Nomous drivers (63 percent) are male.

"Auto-Pragmatics": This group (15 percent) describes themselves as "confident," "cautious," "economically conscious" and "environmentally friendly." In a word ...practical. These same sentiments can be seen in how they view their cars -- safe, convenient, economical, environmentally friendly and practical.

  • This group also consider themselves "good" and "confident" drivers, but this should not be confused with being "fast" and "aggressive." Instead, they are also the most likely to consider their driving style as "safe" or "cautious." For them it is important to get where they are going as safely as possible, no matter how long the trip takes.

  • Most Auto-Pragmatics are fussy about how others treat their cars. They are the group most likely to describe the inside and outside of their car as "clean." A majority of this group (more likely than all other groups of drivers - 58 percent) is not employed. Instead, fully 28 percent are retired, more so than any other group. Most (69 percent) are also female.

"Auto-Pilots": These drivers (15 percent) describe themselves as "reliable," "confident," "smart" and "family-oriented." Half of this group has children under 18 at home (more than any other category). Most (71 percent) are female.

  • Although they generally consider themselves "safe" and "cautious" drivers overall, they are less likely then Auto-Pragmatics to say so. Instead, this group tends to be less comfortable behind the wheel -- only 29 percent strongly agree that they are "confident" drivers. Only one-third agree that they enjoy driving very much. More so than any other group, one in three prefers the passenger seat to the driver's seat, and 24 percent tend to avoid driving whenever they can.

  • Still, a majority of this group is dependent on their car to do their daily business and the majority concedes that their car is a comfortable place to be. But the car itself is not important to this group. Auto-Pilots are least likely to say that their car is a reflection of who they are or that the kind of car they drive is important to them.

  • Individuals in this group are among those most likely to be homemakers (18 percent). Compared to other drivers, people in this group are most likely to drive a minivan (19 percent).

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.


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