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Survey: What Grabs Your Attention During Road Trips?

After the coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S. in 2020, vacations were canceled, traveling was banned, and many of us found ourselves stuck at home. But as spring 2021 approaches, many are opening up to the idea of hitting the road and taking a vacation.

More than half of the respondents of a national survey, conducted by Erie Insurance said they plan to take at least one road trip this year. Of the 500 U.S. residents surveyed, 30% said they would like to – but it depends on the status of the pandemic.

Where are they going?

The urge to see family and friends is real. When asked where they plan on going during their road trip:

  • 41% will visit loved ones
  • 21% are beach-bound
  • 12% visit a national park

Another 12% said they were hitting up different outdoor and “social distancing” friendly sites, including campgrounds, lakeside resorts, lodges and cabins. Planned activities include fishing, golfing, hiking and overall sightseeing activities.

Distractions along the way

Getting distracted behind the wheel continues to be a problem for drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,000 lives were lost in 2019 because of distracted drivers.

Texting and driving gets a bad rap, but that’s not the only distraction. The definition of distracted driving is really any activity that takes your attention away from the road and the primary task of driving.

So, what’s the most distracting thing for road trip drivers? Nearly half the survey respondents said: their passengers and co-pilots.

Of those, 40% say children are the most distracting (sound familiar, parents?), followed by a spouse or significant other.

The most common distractions depend on your age. Check out this infographic to break it all down.

The older the age group, the less distracted drivers are by things inside their vehicle. Drivers 65+, for example, are distracted seven times more by what they see outside than they are by cell phones.

According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes maintained by NHTSA, half of all American drivers admit to daydreaming and it was the No. 1 distraction involved in fatal crashes in 2018.

Hitting the road? Expect company

If you are planning to travel, be prepared for busy roadways (with fellow distracted drivers).

Survey respondents are eager to travel in 2021 – 56% said they plan on traveling more than 100 miles from home. The vast majority (80%) said they will travel by car, SUV or truck.

Further Reading: Road Trip Tips

Planning your epic adventure? Check out these related road trip blogs:

Before you hit the road, make sure your vehicle is up to the task. Here’s some good advice to know:

If you are planning a road trip this year, make sure you pack the right auto insurance along with your other essentials. With coverage from ERIE, it doesn’t matter if you’re taking an epic road trip or just around the bend: wherever you go, we’re right there with you.

To customize an auto policy that’s right for you, contact your local Erie Insurance agent.


April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

A recent national survey by Erie Insurance reveals people are planning road trips in 2021 and the biggest distractions they face behind the wheel.

Top 5 Driver Distractions

Things outside the window 38.6%

Passengers 18.2%

Cell phone 18.2%

Trying to eat or drink 17.8%

The radio or music playing 6.2%


The greatest distraction for drivers ages 45-65+ spouses or significant others complaining about their driving skills.

18-44 noisy children.


35% said they never use their phone while driving.

65% admitted to a variety of activities

Use the GPS


Receive calls


Make calls


Check texts


Reply to texts


If you’re planning a road trip with your family, friends or heading out solo, Erie Insurance can help make sure you’re protected from the unexpected. To learn more about auto insurance coverage from ERIE, visit


This survey was conducted online by Falls on behalf of Erie Insurance, from February 12 through February 25, 2021, among 500 U.S. residents ages 18 and older. Falls established the sampling quotas, designed the questionnaire, tabulated the survey response, and managed the overall project. Falls used Dynata (Plano, TX) to administer the survey via the internet, including mobile devices, to Dynata’s captive U.S. panels who met the age, gender and regional demographic criteria.

Crying kids or backseat drivers – what distractions top the list? Find out in our latest survey. /blog/2021-survey-road-trips-car-maintenance-covid Erie Insurance

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of March 2021 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

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