Trucks at Work

Fear of other drivers

If you ever watched the classic TV show Kung Fu you know that fear is the only darkness.

However, if a new survey conducted for Ford Motor Co. is to be believed, younger generations in this country fear other drivers on the road above all else – even death.

For decades, independent research company Penn Schoen Berland (which conducted this study for Ford) found public speaking topped the list as the most anxiety-inducing activity among U.S. consumers.

Now, though, dangerous drivers are more frightening than speaking in public, death, spiders and even snakes – at least among Millennial and Generation Z consumers, the firm’s polling indicated:

  • Other motorists driving dangerously (88%)
  • Public speaking (75%)
  • Death (74%)
  • Spiders (69%)
  • Snakes (69%)

Those numbers come from roughly 1,000 Generation Z (aged 16-22) and Generation Y or Millennial (aged 23-34) respondents in the U.S, polled online between April 29 and May 4 this year, noted Kevin Shkolnik, VP at Penn Schoen Berland.

On top of that, “distracted and dangerous” drivers are now the first concern for Millennial and Generation Z consumers, he added.

“Younger generations are growing up with different fears than their parents or grandparents,” Shkolnik said.

The most worrisome driving situations among the younger set polled by the firm include:

  • Snowy or icy roads (79%)
  • Maneuvering into a tight parking spot (75%)
  • Backing out onto a busy street (74%)
  • Monitoring blind spots (70%)
  • Not knowing where I’m going (69%)

Now, while many truck drivers might rightfully roll their eyes at some of the fears highlighted by younger drivers above – trucks of course must roll whether roads are snowy and icy or not as 70% of the country’s freight relies on them to get delivered – Ford said it uses such data to figure out what specific “driver-assist” technologies it needs to invest in.

“Research like this is important to Ford and other automotive brands because it informs us about the situations that cause consumers the most stress,” explained Crystal Worthem, Ford’s brand marketing manager.

In fact, Penn Schoen Berland’s research indicates that 65% of respondents would be more likely to purchase a vehicle if it has technology to help with parallel parking, while another 62% want technology to detect objects in blind spots.

“As driver distraction and safety conversations have broadened, we are seeing what technology will help customers tackle their greatest fears,” Worthem pointed out.

Me? My greatest fear remains being cornered on an airplane by a raving horde of zombies 30,000 feet in the air. But as long as someone on board as a grenade, that fear should be nullified.

I hope.

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