Cognitive Daily

This week’s Casual Friday survey was inspired by what I observe as I drive in different parts of the country. It seems that nearly everywhere I go, there’s a slightly different expectation for how drivers will respond to others.

Given that Cognitive Daily has an amazingly diverse global audience, I thought it would be fun to see if driving behaviors vary systematically worldwide.

As always, today’s survey is very short — it should take less than a minute of your time. Why not give it a try? As always, you’ll have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time next Wednesday to respond — or until we get 250 responses, whichever comes first. If drivers in your area have any interesting quirks, feel free to share them in the comments.

Click here to take survey.


  1. #1 C
    January 27, 2006

    I’m a little confused (I expect on purpose) by the first question on your survey. I ended up answering what was written “what do you expect…”, but are you also interested in what the laws of the country are (e.g. “what should the other person do?”)?

  2. #2 C
    January 27, 2006

    PS — “Confused” is not quite the correct word, of course, but I can’t think of the correct one right now. “Ambivalent”? Something like that.

    Words fail me.

  3. #3 Jen
    January 27, 2006

    “Interesting quirk”? How about expecting the driver in the rotary to yield to those coming in? I hate rotaries in Boston because you just have to know what the custom is. But I’m also a new driver, so I don’t know much about how it compares to other cities.

  4. #4 Ryan
    January 27, 2006

    I would have appreciated the ability to prioritize 2 or 3 answers in order to present my REAL perspective.

  5. #5 Dave Munger
    January 28, 2006

    Ryan — yeah, that would have been better, but that data would have been difficult to analyze. Remember, it’s “casual”!

    C — we’re most emphatically not interested in what the laws are, we’re interested in actual behavior. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    Jen — rotaries are a nightmare, though I’ve read that they’re actually more efficient than traffic lights.

    Finally, I might as well tell my favorite “quirk” of drivers in my region. I live in NASCAR (auto racing) country — many (most?) racing teams have their headquarters within about 20 miles of Davidson. Anyway, a lot of folks around here treat freeways as some sort of NASCAR training ground. So if a driver is merging too slowly, the driver behind him/her on the onramp will pull up just inches behind, then quickly merge and accelerate alongside the slow driver (who still hasn’t had a chance to merge), leaving her/him with no place to merge into. That’ll show ’em! Needless to say, we have a lot of traffic accidents around here, but I’m surprised there aren’t a lot more.

  6. #6 Gordon Worley
    January 28, 2006

    I expect there to be some trouble with question 2 (and with question 1, but the answer seems more clear in my area (Orlando-metro), since pretty much everyone does the same thing). When answering question 2 I was torn between what the actual most common behavior probably is the the most common behavior I usually notice. I think most people will slow down, but I really remember the people who speed up and try to race you. You don’t notice when people slow to slip in behind you.

  7. #7 sheila
    January 28, 2006

    I would have liked some of the questions to be split into rush hour vs. non rush hour. During rush hour around here, closer into the city (Chicago), people tend to move along at a steady pace, zippering into the slow lane.

    This doesn’t happen as much outside of rush hour.

    Also, I get aggravated by suburban merging because the suburbanites aren’t as polite about merging. They don’t adjust their speed according to what will work to allow one to merge (whether increasing or decreasing). It’s like they don’t acknowledge the mergers.

  8. #8 Dave Munger
    January 31, 2006

    Okay, the survey’s full. Thanks to all who participated! I’ll have an analysis up on Friday.

    I just have to share my favorite “other” response:

    Question: What do most other drivers in your area do when they attempt to merge and a vehicle occupies the space they’re planning to merge into?

    Answer: Some essentially random action.

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    July 5, 2007

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