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Spouses and friends are the most annoying drivers

Holiday shopping could prove to be especially stressful for those who drive with spouses and friends. Over one-third of people name their spouses as “the most annoying driver,” and almost one-quarter point to friends.

Insure.com’s new survey asked 2,000 licensed drivers about annoying drivers and their most irritating habits.

Results: Who is the most annoying driver?

  1. My spouse: 36 percent
  2. A friend: 22 percent
  3. My mother: 16 percent
  4. My father: 9 percent
  5. Other: 8 percent
  6. My teen son: 5 percent
  7. My teen daughter: 4 percent

Among write-in choices for “other,” “my sister” had the most write-in votes, garnering more than 10 percent of the “other” choices.

Everyone was criticized for “following others too closely” and “driving too fast,” but mothers, fathers and wives also rattle passengers’ nerves by “driving too slowly.”

The most annoying drivers: Spouses and friendsSurvey respondents chose among 14 irritating habits for their “most annoying driver”:

  1. Following others too closely: 14 percent
  2. Driving too fast: 13 percent
  3. Driving too slowly: 10 percent
  4. Cutting off other drivers: 8 percent
  5. Talking on cellphone while driving: 7 percent
  6. Merging too slowly onto the highway: 6 percent
  7. Getting lost: 6 percent
  8. Taking inconvenient and/or long routes: 6 percent
  9. Fiddling with radio/CD player: 6 percent
  10. Failing to stay in their lane: 6 percent
  11. Not signaling: 5 percent
  12. Taking turns sharply: 5 percent
  13. Looking at passengers while talking: 4 percent
  14. Braking at green lights: 4 percent

While friends are as guilty as anyone else of speeding and following others too closely, passengers also say friends are often cutting off other drivers, fiddling with the radio/CD player, talking on the cellphone while driving, failing to signal and looking at passengers rather than the road while talking. All of these distractions can lead to accidents and impact car insurance rates.

So what’s a passenger to do? Most comment or yell, but a good number suffer in silence.

How do you react to annoying driving?

  1. I comment: 42 percent
  2. I don’t say a word: 20 percent
  3. I grab the door handle or dashboard: 16 percent
  4. I yell: 11 percent
  5. I make faces or noises: 9 percent
  6. Other: 2 percent

Those who chose “other” had developed individual strategies for coping with bad driving, including:

  • I crawl in the back so I can’t see
  • I look out the side window
  • I’ve given up
  • Pray
  • Close my eyes

For those gearing up for Black Friday shopping, the best bet may be to find a teen driver and enjoy the ride.

Below, see what happens when Kristin Wong stops people on the street to ask, "Who's the most annoying driver?"


Insure.com surveyed 2,000 licensed drivers age 18 and older. Respondents were split evenly between males and females and distributed across age groups according to Census data on age distribution. The online-panel survey was fielded in October 2013.

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