Driving Trends To Watch For In 2023


To know what to look out for this year let’s see what happened on the road last year. 2022 saw some surprising trends in driving habits: an increase in road rage crashes, anxiety, and gas prices. Let’s look at the numbers!

Post-Pandemic Driving Anxiety

During the height of the pandemic, most people drove less. That makes sense when you consider that 73% of survey respondents reported working from home in 2020. But whether they were working from home or just going out less, the majority of drivers spent less time behind the wheel. 

And as folks have gotten back on the road, there have been a few bumps along the way. An Aceable study found that, as of March 2022, 27% of people are still driving less than they did before March 2020.

Of those people, 53% report feeling more anxious about driving than they did before the pandemic hit. Why? 

  • 47% felt that driving less had eroded their driving skills. 

  • 58% thought that the pandemic worsened other people’s driving skills.

Anxious Teens

The pandemic didn’t just affect seasoned drivers, either. An Aceable survey found that 83% of teens who started driving in the last two years postponed getting their license. There were a few different reasons for this, including closed or backed-up DMVs and just not needing to drive during lockdown.

Road Rage Crashes

Another big trend in 2022 was an increase in road rage, and the massive increase in road rage this year had serious consequences. Of the people surveyed, 38% of people had been in a crash due to another person’s road rage, 27% had been in a crash caused by their own road rage, and 15% have been in a close-call incident incited by road rage. 

Maybe that’s why 72% of respondents said they’d changed their driving habits this year in direct response to seeing what road rage can do. 

Distracted Driving

Drivers in 2022 aren’t just anxious and angry, they’re also not paying attention to the road. Not a good combo, everyone!

In an Aceable survey, 80% of people admitted to taking their eyes off the road to look at their phone, mess with the radio, eat, or do something other than driving. 

Road Rage Crashes

The massive increase in road rage this year had serious consequences.  Of the people surveyed, 38% of people had been in a crash due to another person’s road rage, 27% had been in a crash caused by their own road rage, and 15% have been in a close-call incident incited by road rage. 

Maybe that’s why 72% of respondents said they’d changed their driving habits this year in direct response to seeing what road rage can do. For 47% of those people, the change came in the form of taking defensive driving

Distracted Driving

Drivers in 2022 aren’t just anxious and angry, they’re also not paying attention to the road. Not a good combo, everyone!

In an Aceable survey, 80% of people admitted to taking their eyes off the road to look at their phone, mess with the radio, eat, or do something other than driving. 

And while distracted driving is a perennial issue, things have gotten worse this year: 75% of people said they are more distracted now than they were a year ago. And while distracted driving is a perennial issue, things have gotten worse this year: 75% of people said they are more distracted now than they were a year ago.

Gas Prices and Summer Travel

Also trending in 2022 was increased gas prices, especially during the summer travel months. This summer, 69% of survey respondents said they were considering canceling summer travel plans because of high gas prices. 

Driver’s Ed

These trends might sound negative — nobody wants to imagine themselves getting into a road rage-induced crash! But the good news is that there are steps that people can take to reduce their chances of driving anxiety, road rage, crashes, and distracted driving.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that teens who skip taking driver’s ed are more likely to get into crashes and receive traffic violations. Driver’s ed is more than just a box to check before getting a license. A good driver’s ed course has real-world scenarios, stats, and interactivities that give future drivers real skills to use in difficult and anxiety-producing situations. Taking driver’s ed is a great way for anyone getting their license to feel confident in their ability on the road, beyond their ability to pass the driving test.

Looking Ahead

2022 may not have been a calm year on the road, but drivers found ways to reduce their anxiety and road rage. Let’s hope 2023 brings us all a little more driving zen.

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Audrey Ference

Updated 1/17/23