Are you a cranky commuter or do you use your time behind the wheel to zen out? Cars.com™ conducted a survey of commuters nationwide and zeroed in on motorist behaviors in five major metropolitan areas. The survey reveals commuter behavior on the road. With the average commuting time totaling 21-23 minutes nationwide, which is even longer in the five cities analyzed, commuters aim to make the most of their time in the car with 79 percent designating their commute for me-time and relaxation.
“With the vast majority of commuters traveling by car, it’s important to have a vehicle that’s not only safe and reliable but comfortable too,” said Jenni Newman, editor-in-chief of Cars.com. “At Cars.com, we use data science and human insights to help people find a car that will match their lifestyle for the long haul. It’s important to think beyond price and color when looking for your perfect match—the interior of a car and how it caters to your needs and interests, as well as your vehicle’s fuel economy, can make or break your daily commute.”
Forty percent of commuters love driving and being in their car, which was echoed by commuters in Chicago (40 percent) and Houston (40 percent) who claim they’re content. However, not all cities are alike: a quarter of Los Angeles commuters (26 percent) are stressed behind the wheel, and nearly a quarter in Washington, D.C. admitted to being annoyed or angry (23 percent) and fatigued (24 percent) compared to 15 percent and 13 percent nationally. More than a third (38 percent) of commuters admit to being likely to swear at other drivers when experiencing road rage. Out of the five surveyed cities, nearly half of Washington D.C.’s commuters (49 percent) admitted to this followed by 46 percent in Chicago and 45 percent in Los Angeles.
Driving Personalities By City
The Cars.com survey found that driving attitudes and behaviors vary depending on the area of the country. Here are driving sentiments and behaviors broken out by city:
- Atlanta Brings the Southern Hospitality with an Edge: Atlanta’s commuters are most likely to drink iced tea and least likely to be annoyed or angry behind the wheel compared to the other four cities surveyed. However, Atlanta drivers do have a rebellious streak – they’re most likely to not pay attention to speed limits and most likely to text while driving.
- LA’s Road Warriors: There’s not a lot of love in Los Angeles for commuting as the city’s survey respondents hate their commute the most and are most likely to be stressed while driving. The city also ranks worst for commuter friendliness, commuting time (tied with Washington, D.C.) and congestion. Notably, Los Angeles residents are most likely to give up their vehicle for an autonomous car (41 percent compared to 28 percent nationally).
- Houston’s Car Time is Me-Time: Houstonians often feel content while driving and think their fellow drivers are courteous. They spend their time in the car eating and drinking and listening to audiobooks. Commuters admit to being distracted by their smartphone (even shop) and picking their nose!
- Chicago’s Zen Commuters: Like Houstonians, Chicago commuters feel content and happy when driving. In fact, they’re most likely to be “zoned out” or daydreaming while driving. They have one of the best commutes of the five cities in terms of congestion and traffic, and spend their drives singing, listening to music and drinking coffee.
- Washington, D.C.’s Cranky Commuters: D.C. commuters are most likely to feel annoyed, angry and exhausted when driving, and more often take out their frustrations by swearing. Their commutes are long (tied with Los Angeles), so D.C. commuters use the time to catch up on work, with 20 percent admitting to reading on their smart device while driving compared to just seven percent nationally.
With a range of tools, reviews from experts and other shoppers, and millions of new and used car listings, Cars.com helps consumers find the perfect match to fit their commute, wherever they live.