The driving dead: Here's how many Americans identify as 'zombie drivers'

The driving dead: Here's how many Americans identify as 'zombie drivers'


More than a quarter of Americans are “zombie drivers,” according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 drivers found that 27 percent admit to zoning out behind the wheel and over half – 55 percent – say they feel like they often drive on autopilot.

The average respondent zones out four times a week, and reports it happening more when driving long distances (43 percent).

“Zombie driving” commonly occurs when drivers have a lot on their mind (49 percent), they’re driving while tired (42 percent) or driving on a stretch of road they’re familiar with (40 percent).

That’s in addition to driving the same route every day (34 percent) or when driving feels monotonous (27 percent).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Root Insurance, the survey examined Americans’ safe — and unsafe — habits when behind the wheel.

Ninety percent of respondents consider themselves to be a good driver, but 49 percent admit to driving while distracted.

From eating food (55 percent) to making a phone call (51 percent) or checking their notifications (36 percent) — it seems Americans might not be as safe as they think.

A third (33 percent) of those surveyed have changed the music on their phone while driving and 32 percent have sent a text while behind the wheel.

With bad habits found to be commonplace on the road, perhaps it’s not surprising that 49 percent have a friend or family member that makes them feel unsafe as a passenger.

“Driving safety is about more than the driver,” said Conor Day, Director of Product Management at Root Insurance.

“It’s about creating a safe environment for passengers, pedestrians and our communities, and as these results show, we are all aware of the impact of safe driving, even if we’re not behind the wheel.”

And results revealed that a fifth (22 percent) of respondents have had someone comment on their own bad driving habits.

This includes driving too fast, making phone calls while behind the wheel and taking corners too aggressively, while others were lectured about not following road signs correctly, such as yielding.

The survey found that 86 percent believe they would pass their driving test if they needed to retake it – but results showed some might be overconfident.

When shown images of street signs, only 63 percent of respondents correctly recognized a “hill ahead” sign, while just 54 percent knew what an “HOV lane” sign meant.

Seventy percent were familiar with a “divided highway sign,” but only 61 percent were able to identify a “slippery when wet” sign.

Interestingly enough, while 67 percent know they could be a safer driver, only 18 percent thought an autonomous car would be a better driver than they are.

“With connected technology surrounding us in our cars, driving is more distracting than ever,” said Day.

“Companies and drivers both need to do more to make sure we’re all following the rules of the road and staying focused.”

‘Zombie driving’ occurs when drivers…

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