Driving Fears Outweigh Fear of Ghosts, Spiders and Death

fear of parkingWhile driving fears can plague people of any age, younger Americans between the ages of 16 and 34 appear to be cornering the market. A Penn Schoen Berland study, conducted on behalf of Ford Motor Company, found the bulk of Millennials and Generation Z-ers fear the dangerous driving of other motorists more than they fear spiders, snakes, ghosts, death – and even the former No. 1 anxiety-inducing activity of public speaking.

Top Fears for Millennials and Generation Z

  • 88: Percentage who fear other motorists driving hazardously
  • 75: Percentage who fear public speaking
  • 74: Percentage who fear death
  • 69: Percentage who fear spiders
  • 69: Percentage who fear snakes
  • 20: Percentage who fear ghosts
  • 18: Percentage who fear strangers

The study did not outline why driving fears are becoming more and more common, but it did outline specific driving anxieties that plague the younger crowd. These include:

  • 79 percent: Icy or snowy streets
  • 75 percent: Fitting into tight parking spots
  • 74 percent: Backing into busy road
  • 70 percent: Montioring blind spots
  • 69 percent: Not knowing where they’re going

Practice driving, parking drills and learning how to use a map could perhaps conquer some of the specific fears, although those solutions weren’t mentioned in Ford’s media release. The company instead pinpointed specific technological features it could add to its vehicles over the next five years to address the specific concerns and thereby boost its sales.

Feasible Solution?

Increasing sales is not a surprising motive, nor is the heavy focus on technology as a solution. The irony of the situation is not lost, particularly since electronics contribute to the ongoing danger of distracted drivers streaming down the road. Stats reported at Distraction.gov include:

  • 660,000: Number of drivers using cell phones or playing around with electronic devices while driving any given daylight moment across the US
  • 27: Percentage of distracted drivers in fatal crashes that are in their 20s
  • 10: Percentage of distracted drivers in fatal crashes that are under age 20

Rather than putting down the gadgets and focusing on safe driving tactics, the newfangled solution appears to be to add yet more technology into the mix. Driver-assist technologies continue to be in heavy demand, with a J.D. Power study noting many consumers will opt for safety related technologies regardless of the additional cost.

Collision prevention systems and blind spot detection top the list of coveted features. Those in development include everything from remote parking assistance to pedestrian detection systems.

Technology does have its place in enhancing driver safety, but in some cases it may actually be perpetuating the problem. High-tech devices may be giving some motorists yet another excuse not to build a solid foundation of safe driving born out of practice, diligence and skill. And while the features may eradicate the short-term anxiety of a specific situation, they don’t delve deep to eradicate the root cause of ongoing driving fears.


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