Some 81% of drivers think other drivers are more aggressive now as compared to 2020, according to a new survey from Nationwide Insurance.
The findings indicate that drivers believe the nation’s roadways are more dangerous than ever. Moreover, they clearly believe they are sharing the road with reckless motorists — with 76% of respondents saying drivers are more reckless as compared with 2020.
Speeding, which killed 9,478 people in 2019, appears to be getting worse as well. The majority of those surveyed —79% — said they think motorists drive faster now than they did in 2020.
The observations of consumers who took the Nationwide survey appear to reflect the truth of what is happening on our roadways.
Consider recent history. Despite miles driven declining by 11%, there was a 6.8% increase in fatalities from motor vehicle crashes in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Experts hypothesize that open roads coupled with frustration and anger during the pandemic boosted risky driving behaviors like speeding, aggressive driving, and driving under the influence. Those behaviors, in turn, led to more collisions and deaths.
However, instead of improving after the height of the pandemic the problem only grew worse as more people returned to the roads in 2021. In fact, fatalities increased 12% through the first nine months of 2021.
Interestingly, the survey shows that people tend to think of themselves as good drivers and everyone else as the problem. In fact, 85% rate their driving as excellent or very good, but only 29% give the same rating to other drivers on the road.
While most people claim to be good drivers, their behavior tells another story. Despite the two-thirds of drivers (66%) that said holding a cell phone to talk, text, or use an app while driving is dangerous, half (51%) reported doing this in the past six months.
Respondents admitted to several other risky behaviors while driving in the past 12 months.
These included driving 10+ miles over the speed limit, which 54% said they did as well as eating behind the wheel, which 53% reported doing. As for hostile driving, 23% said they have audibly yelled at another driver, 21% have given an obscene gesture, and 17% ran a stop sign or light.