Holiday Drivers Unable to Resist Shopping While Driving, Says New Root Report

New Study Finds That Drivers are More Stressed, and More Distracted, this Holiday Season

COLUMBUS, Ohio–(BUSINESS WIRE)–‘Tis the season for family reunions, gift giving, and holiday cheer, but for some, the stress of the holidays can lead to some not-so-jolly driving behavior. Distracted driving continues to grow year over year. In fact, according to the new 2019 Holiday Distracted Driving Report released by Root Insurance1, almost 2 in 5 Americans who shop on their phone do so while driving (39%); up 4% from last year2.

The holidays are a notoriously busy and expensive time, so consumers often feel the need to shop and hunt for deals while on the go—sometimes, even when they’re behind the wheel. But Root believes good deals and good driving don’t have to be at odds. Root rewards safe driving with personalized rates based on real behavior, so drivers have a better reason to put down their phones, focus on the road, and still benefit with safety and savings.

“Our annual survey brings to light something many of us have long believed: that driving during the holidays can be particularly stressful and distracting, making it one of the most important times of year to be a safe driver and co-pilot,” said Conor Day, Director of Product at Root. “At Root, our goal is to help make the roads safer by raising awareness around the dangers of distracted driving and rewarding safe drivers with lower rates.”

So, why do drivers continue to take their eyes off the road?

Shoppers Can’t Put Their Phones Down While Driving

It’s no surprise that more than three-quarters of Americans (76%) say they shop on their mobile device, but what’s unexpected is that they’re shopping while driving. In fact, 39% have shopped on their mobile device while driving, and men are more likely than women to admit to doing so (49% vs. 30%). Of those who shop on their mobile device while driving:

  • Nearly half (46%) say they’ve browsed for items while driving during the holidays, checked an order status (45%), and checked the availability of an item in-store (40%).
  • More than one third (36%) say they searched for coupons/deals on their device while driving during the holidays and 33% have actually completed a purchase.

Road Rage is Real During Holiday Shopping

Almost 3 in 4 American drivers (74%) agree that the worst part of the holidays is navigating retail parking lots, with 71% saying that they do their holiday shopping early to avoid the frustration of busy parking lots. So, what else aggravates these drivers during the holidays?

  • More than one quarter (26%) say they’ve experienced road rage (i.e., offensive gestures, verbal insults, physical threats, dangerous driving) while out doing their holiday shopping.
  • Male drivers are more likely than female drivers to say they’ve gotten into an altercation (i.e., yelling, swearing, arguing) with another driver over a parking spot during the holiday season (12% male vs. 8% female).
  • Parents with kids under 18 are three times more likely than those without children to say they have broken the speed limit while driving to the store for a last-minute holiday gift before the store closed (17% vs. 5%).

Traveling During the Holidays

The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones, but for many, travel can get in the way.. The study found that one third of Americans (33%) say they spend more time traveling to holiday celebrations than they do at the celebrations themselves. But sometimes, taking the long way is better:

  • Two thirds of Americans (66%) say they’d rather take a long car ride to get to holiday celebrations than deal with the hassle of the airport.
  • When it comes to traffic, most Americans (87%) say they would want a companion in the car when they’re stuck. Among those who do, more than 1 in 5 (28% each) would want to be stuck in traffic with their pet or their siblings.
  • Americans would hate being stuck in holiday traffic with their own parents (26%), but not as much as with their in-laws (35%).

For more information, visit or follow Root on social @rootinsuranceco. You could get the rate you deserve by downloading the app and taking the Root test drive.

About Root

Root Insurance is the nation’s first licensed insurance carrier powered entirely by mobile. We were founded on the belief that the services you need for everyday life should serve you better. That’s why we base insurance coverages on you, not your demographic. It’s the way insurance should be. And it’s all conveniently in an app.

Root is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, with renters insurance available in Missouri, Ohio and Utah, and auto insurance currently available to drivers in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia and will be coming to more states soon.

For more information, visit and get a free quote. Sign up online or download the app.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Root Insurance between November 7-11, 2019 among 2,012 adults ages 18+, among whom 1,750 are drivers.

Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, income, and education where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in online surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.


1 Among more than 2,000 U.S. adults 18+ conducted online by The Harris Poll

2 Root Holiday Distracted Driving Report, 2018



Root Insurance

Tom Kuhn, Director, External Communications

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