Younger Americans Fear Other Drivers More Than Death, Public Speaking and Spiders, New Study Finds

  • Millennials and Generation Z consumers are more afraid of other motorists driving dangerously than death, public speaking and spiders – a new survey says
  • Top driving fears include backing out onto busy streets, maneuvering into tight parking spaces and monitoring blind spots
  • Ford announces it is moving to migrate the company’s driver-assist technologies across its product lineup over the next five years

(Graphic: Business Wire)

PALO ALTO, Calif.--()--Public speaking just lost the top spot as the most feared task for younger Americans. Distracted, dangerous drivers are now the first concern for Millennial and Generation Z consumers, new research finds.

For decades, public speaking was America’s most anxiety-inducing activity. Now, dangerous drivers are more frightening than speaking in public, death, spiders and snakes – according to independent research company Penn Schoen Berland.

Top fears for Millennials and members of Generation Z:

  • Other motorists driving dangerously (88 percent)
  • Public speaking (75 percent)
  • Death (74 percent)
  • Spiders (69 percent)
  • Snakes (69 percent)

“Younger generations are growing up with different fears than their parents or grandparents,” said Kevin Shkolnik, vice president, Penn Schoen Berland. “Younger drivers are worried about distracted drivers, but they think technology isn’t just the problem, it’s also the solution, as we are seeing growing demand for driver-assistance technologies.”

The most worrisome driving situations among survey respondents include:

  • Snowy or icy roads (79 percent)
  • Maneuvering into a tight parking spot (75 percent)
  • Backing out onto a busy street (74 percent)
  • Monitoring blind spots (70 percent)
  • Not knowing where I’m going (69 percent)

Penn Schoen Berland conducted the poll on behalf of Ford Motor Company, surveying 1,000 Generation Z (ages 16-22) and Generation Y (ages 23-34) respondents in the United States. The online survey was conducted between April 29 and May 4, 2015; the margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

The new research validates Ford’s decision to offer technologies that will help drivers with common driving concerns. Today, Ford announced it is moving to migrate driver-assist technologies across its product lineup over the next five years.

“Research like this is important to Ford and other automotive brands because it informs us about the situations that cause consumers the most stress,” said Crystal Worthem, Ford brand marketing manager. “As driver distraction and safety conversations have broadened, we are seeing what technology will help customers tackle their greatest fears.”

The research shows 65 percent of respondents are more likely to purchase a vehicle if it has technology to help with parallel parking. Of those polled, 62 percent want technology to detect objects in blind spots.

While Ford already offers active park assist and blind spot monitoring, the company continues to develop innovative driver-assist technologies for future vehicles.

“Ford is listening to customers to better understand what they want from their vehicles,” said Worthem. “Part of understanding what consumers want is to know what concerns them, and we will continue to use data like this to inform how we research and develop our products and technologies.”

Currently, Ford offers some of the most in-demand vehicle technologies on most of its products in North America:

Technology   Number of Ford vehicles offering feature*
Rearview camera   19*
Blind spot monitoring   10
Semi-automatic parallel park   9
Adaptive cruise control   7
Lane-keeping system   5

* Standard on 12 vehicles

Ford engineers continue to work on technology for the future, including pre-collision assist, pedestrian detection and remote parking.

J.D. Power recently released findings from its inaugural U.S. Tech Choice Study, which focuses on technologies consumers want to buy regardless of price. Overwhelmingly, most of these are technologies related to safety – specifically, collision protection, according to the study. Blind spot detection and collision prevention systems rank among the most valued features.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 194,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

For news releases, related materials and high-resolution photos and video, visit


Ford Motor Company
Aaron Miller, 313-845-4467


Ford Motor Company
Aaron Miller, 313-845-4467