Skip to main content

Map vs. App: See How Generations Navigate Driving Habits

The survey matter what your age, generations can agree driving is the way to get from point A to point B. The way we’re getting there and what we’re doing while we drive is what differs among generations.

Here’s who we surveyed*:

  • Gen Z: Ages 14-17
  • Millennials: Ages 18-34
  • Gen X:  Ages 35-50
  • Baby Boomers: Ages 51-69

Looking for peace of mind? Look no further. Get an auto insurance quote today.

Getting behind the wheel

While there has been some research that shows a declining interest in driving, Erie Insurance found that 89 percent of Gen Zs who don’t have a driver’s license plan to get one, and of those, 96 percent are excited about learning to drive. This mirrors the response from Baby Boomers when they were asked to look back on the time when they began driving.

“This tells us that while there has been some societal shift away from cars, they remain a central part of people’s lives,” said Jon Bloom, vice president of personal auto at Erie Insurance. “Many think Millennials don’t care about cars, however, our research suggests otherwise.”

Texting and driving

The survey revealed 6 percent of drivers believe texting and driving is “not a big deal; I do it all the time.” (Yikes!)

Further questions about texting and driving revealed that nearly a third of drivers (31 percent) believe that texting is ok to do when they feel it’s safe.  Here’s how participants in each generation answered this question:

  • Millennials: 44 percent said it’s ok to do when it’s safe
  • Gen Z: 40 percent in this age group thought it was ok
  • Gen X: 35 percent felt they could text and drive when it was safe
  • Baby Boomers: at 13 percent, this age group was the least likely to text and drive when they felt it was safe.

Another alarming fact: 28 percent of Gen Z drivers thought it was ok to text and drive before they actually started driving. This number jumped to 40 percent when we asked Gen Z drivers who were already on the road.

Buckling up

The survey found that seat belt use actually declines with each generation. Nearly all Baby Boomers buckle up when they get in the car (94 percent). Gen Xers buckle up 87 percent of the time, followed by 81 percent of Millennials and only 77 percent of Gen Zs.  Make sure to buckle up, no matter what seat you ride in.

Hesitant to Switch to Auto Pilot

Millennials were most likely to agree to riding in a self-driving car (37 percent), compared to only 15 percent of Baby Boomers. However, neither group said they would fully trust a car that drove itself. Nine percent of respondents think self-driving cars will eliminate car accidents all together. There’s still a little road left to travel on the idea of self-driving cars.

Terms of endearment

Forty percent of current car owners have a nickname for their vehicle. The most popular nicknames are variations of “Baby” and “Betsy.” There were many nicknames inspired by car colors, including blue (Big Blue, Blue Belle and My Bluebird of Happiness) and then red (Big Red, Red Nose and Crimson Typhoon). There could be more nicknames coming, as 50 percent of Gen Z drivers planning to get a car will think about naming it.

Use a map or an app?

Map? Like a paper map? In the age of navigation systems, map apps on smart phones, and the ability to print directions to your destination from your home, almost all generations rarely use paper road maps or ask for directions (2 percent and 1 percent, respectively).

Fifty-three percent of all participants use internet-based apps, 33 percent use in-car navigation systems and 10 percent print out their directions before hitting the road.

Half of Gen Z drivers have never used a paper road map and nearly a third of Millennials have never used one to travel to their destination. On the flip side, 94 percent of Baby Boomers have, but for almost half of them (45 percent), it’s been more than five years.

Check out the infographic below for more survey results and this video to hear different generations share their views on driving and cars.

When it comes to insuring your car, you’ll want to make sure you talk to your ERIE Agent. He or she will make sure your coverage fits your needs, no matter what stage of life you’re in.

*The survey consisted of 2,000 U.S. residents across four generations.

Methodology:  The survey was conducted by Falls Communications on behalf of Erie Insurance from Sept. 28 – Oct. 26, 2017, among 2,147 U.S. residents ages 14-69. Research Now (Plano, TX) administered the survey, via the internet, to its captive U.S. panels. While different sample sizes have different margins of error, the estimated margin of error for the sample size of all 2,147 respondents is +/- 2.1 percent. For additional information, contact Sara Erhartic.

Map vs. App: See How Generations Navigate Driving Habits Infographic

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 July 2022 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. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.