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Nationwide survey reveals "driving personalities" of seven major US cities

Jul 17 2009

Nationwide survey reveals "driving personalities" of seven major US cities

Which Americans prefer to drive on fumes, change their route depending on time of day, sing or dance while driving.

CONCORD, MA -- July 17, 2009 – America is a country which prides itself on its unique cultural composition, varying geography and diverse ideals. Regardless of race or creed however, one thing is certain; all Americans are affected by one universal experience, the everyday hassle of traffic and commuting. Whether it’s a frustrating – or even embarrassing – driving experience, almost all have a story to tell. Concord-based TomTom Inc., determined to uncover the various driving habits and road way behaviors which emerge, has surveyed Americans to find out which driving personality is distinctly their own.

The seven cities surveyed include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and New York. Residents from each of these cities candidly shared interesting driving habits and routines which revealed their “driving personalities.” Survey respondents fell into three different “driving personality” categories:

  1. Diligent Driver – Extremely conscientious drivers who consistently stick to the rules of the road
  2. Neutral Navigator – A milder breed of drivers who take a steady, “middle-of-the-road” approach to driving and typically go with the flow
  3. Courageous Commuter –Bold drivers who do what it takes to overcome the obstacles and complexities of daily driving

The cities were surveyed on a number of typical driving situations including what they do when about to miss an exit, at what point they choose to fill their gas tanks, how much time they typically leave before an appointment, and how they react to being tailgated and cut off. Based on the results, U.S. cities’ personalities were revealed as follows:

  • Diligent Drivers: Los Angeles, Houston
  • Neutral Navigators: Chicago, New York
  • Courageous Commuters: Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis

Key national statistics from the survey include:

61.3% of Americans travel five to 10 miles over the speed limit
High Score: Atlanta (66.2%)
71.2% of Americans change their route depending on the time of day to reach their destination the fastest way possible
High Score: Los Angeles (78.3%)
19.8% of Americans lean on their horns when someone cuts them off
High Score: Boston (27.6%)
10.7% of Americans curse or gesture crudely when someone cuts them off
High Score: Atlanta (14.4%)
21.6% of Americans slam on their brakes or slow down when being tailgated
High Score: Atlanta (26.4%)
13.1% of Americans stick to the speed limit
High Score: Minneapolis (20%)
34.5% of Americans sing and dance in the car while driving
High Score: Los Angeles (37.4%)
2% of Americans admit to picking their noses while driving
High Score: Atlanta (3%)

Nationwide, 58.1 percent 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. In fact, one Courageous Commuter from Atlanta admitted to honking loudly at the stopped car in front of him, only to discover he was actually honking at the end of a funeral line, while a Diligent Driver from Los Angeles had a tennis shoe thrown at him from another driver while stuck in traffic on the highway.

“As Americans are spending more and more of their time on the road, driving personalities naturally emerge,” said Kendra Thornton, Travel Expert and Industry Publicist. “Through TomTom’s Driving Personality Survey, we are able to see how each city’s ‘driving personality’ directly relates to its unique lifestyle, landscape and culture.”

Regardless of one’s driving personality, all Americans can benefit from TomTom’s unique technology and many helpful features.

With 71.2 percent of Americans changing their route depending on the time of day they travel in order to avoid traffic, IQ Routes™ is a fundamental feature. In up to 35 percent of all cases, the use of IQ Routes results in driving a faster route, saving significant travel time as well as money and fuel. IQ Routes is of particular importance to Courageous Commuters, as they are especially concerned with saving on travel time. TomTom IQ Routes Technology uses historical travel time information to automatically provide users with the most reliable travel and arrival times on their navigation device. The most efficient route is calculated for the particular moment that drivers plug their destination into their device.

About 16 percent of Neutral Navigators prefer to keep their tanks at least half full and 12 percent fuel up when they see low prices. TomTom’s Fuel Price Service helps these fuel conscious commuters choose gas stations by location or price, and helps them find the lowest gas prices on their route, nearby or within a user-selected mile radius. Travelers can also choose which type of gas they would like tracked: regular, mid-grade, premium or diesel.

To support the 71.1 percent of Americans surveyed who call roadside assistance if/when their car breaks down, TomTom’s Help Me! menu includes information such as the nearest police station, hospital or car repair service center and allows drivers to quickly identify their location for emergency assistance providers. For sensible planners, such as Diligent Drivers, TomTom’s Help Me! menu is a perfect match.

For information on TomTom’s many other features as well as additional information on the features mentioned above, please visit

Readers can discover their own driving personality, by taking TomTom’s short quiz, at

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