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WVPA Sharing: What kind of holiday driver are you?

By Debra Minor Wilson

Times West Virginian
FAIRMONT — What kind of holiday driver are you?
Are you a turkey?
Are you a big old hunk of that sweet potato pie Grandma baked just for you?
Or do you scare the stuffing out of everybody and his brother?
Holiday driving can bring out the beast in you as you battle traffic jams and frustrating delays amid backseat choruses of “Are we there yet?” and well-meaning questions like, “Honey, was that our exit?”
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Insurance.com commissioned a survey of 500 men and 500 women with children age 12 and under living at home about their driving behavior.
In a not-so-scientific poll, 15 female and 15 male drivers in Marion County were asked the same questions.
Have you ever:
1. Honked at someone driving too slowly?
• Insurance.com total: 41 percent of drivers. (Women: 39 percent. Men: 43 percent.)
• Marion County: Uh-oh. If your ears are ringing, it’s not because the driver behind you is complimenting your driving. Eight of the women and 12 of the men said they’ve have laid on the horn because of slow-pokes ahead of them. Best get the lead out.
2. Sworn in front of the kids while driving?
• Insurance.com total: 37 percent. (Women: 44 percent. Men: 30 percent.)
• Marion County: Cover the kids’ ears when Mom’s at the wheel. Nine of the women said they’d said a few nasty words in front of Johnny and Susie, while only three men said thay had. Of course, Mom’s more likely than Dad to be carting little Johnny and Susie around to soccer and band and football and such, so there’s an explanation.
3. Flipped someone off while driving?
• Insurance.com total: 29 percent. (Women: 31 percent. Men: 27 percent.)
• Marion County: Marion Countians are much more polite than that, to hear them tell the story. No woman admitted to having done this, while only four men said they had. (Nothing was asked about yelling or cussing, or making other gestures.)
4. Brake-checked a car following too closely?
• Insurance.com total: 28 percent. (Women: 30 percent. Men: 27 percent.)
• Marion County: You might want to back off a little. Twelve of the women and all 15 men said they would slow down if you get too close.
5. Sped up significantly to prevent someone from passing you?
• Insurance.com total: 26 percent. (Women: 25 percent. Men: 28 percent.)
• Marion County: We’re a little less possessive of our roads than the Insurance.com group. Only one of the women and seven of the male drivers are more than eager to dare you to try to pass. Go ahead. Try.
6. Gone when it wasn’t your turn at a four-way stop?
• Insurance.com total: 19 percent. (Women: 18 percent. Men: 20 percent.)
• Marion County: Not very many. None of the women admitted to doing this, while only two men said they did. “Too dangerous,” one woman said.
7. Tailgated someone on purpose because he or she was going too slowly?
• Insurance.com total: 18 percent. (Women: 21 percent. Men: 16 percent.)
• Marion County: You better keep up the pace, because five of the women and nine of the men admitted to tailgating.
8. Driven to the front of a merge line, then swerved and cut in?
• Insurance.com total: 12 percent. (Women: 11 percent. Men: 13 percent.)
• Marion County: Not one driver said he or she has ever done this. Of course, the flip question — Have you boxed out somebody trying to cut in line? — was never asked.
9. Stolen a parking spot someone else was waiting for?
• Insurance.com total: 11 percent. (Women: 9 percent. Men: 13 percent.)
• Marion County: Your space is safe. Only one man said he had done this. The women drivers were much more patient.
10. Driven in the breakdown lane around traffic?
• Insurance.com total: 10 percent. (Women: 8 percent. Men: 13 percent.)
• Marion County: None of the women said they’d ever done this, while men were more impatient. Four said they’d passed on the right.
11. Sped up to block another car with its signal on?
• Insurance.com total: 9 percent. (Women: 8 percent. Men: 10 percent.)
• Marion County: Only one male driver said he’d done this. One woman said she would even slow down to let the car in front of her.
12. Chased after a car that cut you off so you could glare at/flip off the other driver?
• Insurance.com total: 9 percent. (Women: 7 percent. Men: 11 percent.)
• Marion County: You shouldn’t ever cut people off, but here you’re relatively safe. Only one male driver said he’d done this. The women drivers let it slide.
13. Sworn in front of elderly in-laws while driving?
• Insurance.com total: 9 percent. (Women: 9 percent. Men: 10 percent.)
• Marion County: Whether out of respect for their elders or in fear of having their mouths washed out with soap, all of the drivers said they’ve never done this … and never, ever, ever would.
14. Dinged someone’s car in a parking lot and driven away?
• Insurance.com total: 8 percent. (Women: 8 percent. Men: 8 percent.)
• Marion County: One woman and two men admitted to having done this. “But we’ve all probably dinged a car without realizing it,” one woman said.
15. Turned on your brights at an oncoming car just to be mean?
• Insurance.com total: 7 percent. (Women: 4 percent. Men: 11 percent.)
• Marion County: Again, no one did this “just to be mean.” “But if they’re coming toward me and don’t turn their brights down, I’ll flick my brights to let them know,” one man said.
16. Keyed someone’s car?
• Insurance.com total: 5 percent. (Women: 3 percent. Men: 7 percent.)
• Marion County: Zilch. Nada. Nothing. One woman driver wasn’t even sure what this meant.
Email Debra Minor Wilson at [email protected].

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