After more than two years of covid lockdowns, social distancing, and working from home, people are getting back to their pre-pandemic lives. But a lot of folks are feeling anxious about driving these days. Aceable commissioned a study to find out what’s behind this new anxiety.
Some People Are Still Driving Less
Aceble’s survey found that, as of April 2022, 41% of people are driving the same amount that they did before March 2020, 32% are driving more, and 27% are driving less.
Of that 27% of people driving less than they did before the pandemic, 53% report feeling more anxious about driving than they did before March 2020.
What’s Making People Anxious About Driving?
So what’s causing this newfound driving anxiety? For some people, the worry is about other drivers. A third of the people currently driving the same amount as they did pre-pandemic said they lacked confidence in the skills of the drivers around them.
Others are feeling rusty. Of the people who reported driving anxiety, 47% of respondents felt that driving less during the pandemic caused their driving abilities to deteriorate, and 58% worried that other drivers’ skills had deteriorated.
Not Just Anxious, But Angry
Drivers aren’t just feeling more anxious about driving. They’re also experiencing road rage at much higher instances than before. Sixty-two percent of people reported feeling more road rage in 2022 than previously (and male respondents were 22% more likely to have experienced road rage this year).
Frighteningly, 68% of people reported experiencing an increase in road rage from other drivers, too. It’s not helping that 76% of people found that traffic had increased noticeably since the start of 2022.
Defensive Driving For Driving Anxiety
This data paints a picture of a driving populace experiencing huge increases in anger and fear. What can be done to combat these negative trends? A lot of people have turned to defensive driving courses.
In fact, 64% of people surveyed had taken a defensive driving course since the beginning of the pandemic (55% were currently taking a course when they responded to the survey). Male respondents were 34% more likely to have taken a defensive driving course than female ones.
Access to Defensive Driving
Defensive driving can be a great way for anxious or angry drivers to brush up on skills, gain confidence in their driving abilities, and learn strategies for avoiding road rage.
Unfortunately, our survey found that defensive driving wasn’t accessible to everyone who wanted it. Of the respondents who were not considering taking a defensive driving course:
45% said they didn’t have time to take one
24% found defensive driving too expensive
19% said they didn’t know where to find a course (and 14% didn’t even know what defensive driving was)
How to Find a Defensive Driving Course
Defensive driving courses can be purchased online and completed from any device at your own pace.
There are also in-person defensive driving options, often offered at the same driving schools that offer driver’s ed courses. Defensive driving can not only help drivers feel less anxious but can, in some instances, get them discounts on their auto insurance.
Key Takeaways About Driving Anxiety
Aceable’s 2022 driving anxiety survey makes it clear that drivers are feeling more anxious and more prone to road rage than they were before the pandemic began. There are many potential causes for this change: skill loss from driving less, increased traffic, and trauma from the pandemic itself.
Taking a defensive driving course is one tool drivers have to combat their driving anxiety. Depending on the severity of the anxiety, some drivers might also need support like therapy, medication, centering practices like yoga and meditation, or other interventions. The important thing is that drivers experiencing anxiety take action to alleviate it, for their own mental health and safety.
This study surveyed 612 U.S.-based drivers aged 18+. All respondents held an active driver’s license and owned or leased a car for personal use. Respondents came from 47 of the 50 U.S. states, and were 59% male and 41% female, with an average age of 37.