‘Tis the season for family reunions, gift giving, and holiday cheer, but for some, the stress of the holidays can lead to some not-so-jolly driving behavior. Distracted driving continues to grow year over year. In fact, according to the new 2019 Holiday Distracted Driving Report released by Root Insurance, almost 2 in 5 Americans who shop on their phone do so while driving (39%); up 4% from last year.
The holidays are a notoriously busy and expensive time, so consumers often feel the need to shop and hunt for deals while on the go—sometimes, even when they’re behind the wheel.
So, why do drivers continue to take their eyes off the road?
Shoppers Can’t Put Their Phones Down While Driving
It’s no surprise that more than three-quarters of Americans (76%) say they shop on their mobile device, but what’s unexpected is that they’re shopping while driving. In fact, 39% have shopped on their mobile device while driving, and men are more likely than women to admit to doing so (49% vs. 30%). Of those who shop on their mobile device while driving:
- Nearly half (46%) say they’ve browsed for items while driving during the holidays, checked an order status (45%), and checked the availability of an item in-store (40%).
- More than one third (36%) say they searched for coupons/deals on their device while driving during the holidays and 33% have actually completed a purchase.
Road Rage is Real During Holiday Shopping
Almost 3 in 4 American drivers (74%) agree that the worst part of the holidays is navigating retail parking lots, with 71% saying that they do their holiday shopping early to avoid the frustration of busy parking lots. So, what else aggravates these drivers during the holidays?
- More than one quarter (26%) say they’ve experienced road rage (i.e., offensive gestures, verbal insults, physical threats, dangerous driving) while out doing their holiday shopping.
- Male drivers are more likely than female drivers to say they’ve gotten into an altercation (i.e., yelling, swearing, arguing) with another driver over a parking spot during the holiday season (12% male vs. 8% female).
- Parents with kids under 18 are three times more likely than those without children to say they have broken the speed limit while driving to the store for a last-minute holiday gift before the store closed (17% vs. 5%).
Traveling During the Holidays
The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones, but for many, travel can get in the way.. The study found that one third of Americans (33%) say they spend more time traveling to holiday celebrations than they do at the celebrations themselves. But sometimes, taking the long way is better:
- Two thirds of Americans (66%) say they’d rather take a long car ride to get to holiday celebrations than deal with the hassle of the airport.
- When it comes to traffic, most Americans (87%) say they would want a companion in the car when they’re stuck. Among those who do, more than 1 in 5 (28% each) would want to be stuck in traffic with their pet or their siblings.
- Americans would hate being stuck in holiday traffic with their own parents (26%), but not as much as with their in-laws (35%).