Here’s one for the fun file!
In sifting through the news wires this morning, I came across a study conducted by TomTom Inc., a company that provides what it calls “navigation solutions” and digital maps – basically, a routing system to help drivers find where they are going while avoiding major traffic bottlenecks.
TomTom hired a firm to conduct a survey of seven major U.S. cities – Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and New York – to discern the “driving personalities” inhabiting each locale, polling 200 folks in each city to uncover common driving habits and roadway behaviors.
“We thought the survey would be a fun way to discover each city’s unique culture on the road; we have after all a natural interest in driving patterns and behaviors,” Karen Drake, TomTom’s corporate communications manager told me via email. “Greater awareness about our own driving tendencies helps us take the necessary measures to overcome the challenges we all face on the road, including dense traffic, breakdowns and high gas prices.”
[Here's a little video showing how TomTom's product offering works -- just in case you were wondering ...]
OK, sounds a bit humdrum, I know – until I started reading the survey’s results. Of all the cities listed above, I felt sure – smugly confident, even – that New York, Los Angeles, Boston, or maybe even Chicago would be home to drivers with some of the worst habits. But ATLANTA? No way … I just couldn’t believe it. Yet the drivers polled in Atlanta admitted to some interesting behaviors while out of the road. Just look:
• Extrapolating from TomTom’s survey data, roughly 61.3% of Americans travel five to 10 miles over the speed limit. Atlanta’s drivers, however, bagged the top slot, with 66.2% of them admitting to going over the speed limit by five to 10 mph.
• Some 10.7% of Americans curse or gesture crudely when someone cuts them off; Yet, again, Atlanta’s drivers do it the most – some 14.4% of them.
• Roughly 21.6% of Americans slam on their brakes or slow down when being tailgated. Then there are Atlanta’s drivers, slamming on the brakes the most – some 26.4% of the time.
• And then to the coup de grace: while 2% of Americans pick their nose behind the wheel … some 3% of Atlanta’s drivers admit to this unsavory practice. Oh no!
At least Boston stayed true to form: while 19.8% of Americans lean on their horns when someone cuts them off, Boston is the city where they do it the most, some 27.6% of the time.
“Nationwide, 58.1% of Americans surveyed have a daily commute that lasts 45 minutes to an hour. With so much time spent in the car, it comes as no surprise that some interesting, and in some cases, even embarrassing behaviors and occurrences have resulted,” said Kendra Thornton, travel expert and industry publicist, in comments about this survey.
You’re telling me – and most of them occurring in ATLANTA of all places! Needless to say, once word of these survey results get out, I think you’ll find Atlanta’s drivers being a lot more circumspect in terms of what conduct they’ll admit to when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle!