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On the Road

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Ah, the open road. Whether you love it or hate it, driving is an integral part of our daily life: Americans spend an average of over 17,600 minutes in the car every year. That’s a lot of audiobooks, radio shows, and podcasts. But what drives us to drive? What compels us to strap in for expeditions far and wide? What powers the famed all-American road trip? According to over 1,000 survey respondents: football and burgers, among other things. Read on to find out how far people are willing to go to get what they want. Buckle up!

Rides on the Road

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Our survey showed men had a greater desire than women to remain behind the wheel for longer stretches – a fact so oft-observed it has been baked into advertisements. Women reached their maximum distance at an average of 491 miles, whereas men were willing to drive farther at an average of 583 miles.

When the driving was broken down by event, however, there was a slightly elevated degree of evenness. Of the seven excursions shown above, men were willing to drive farther for five of them, and women would go the distance for two – a relief effort or specific food or beverage. Both groups were most likely to buckle up for a job interview, with men at an average of 1,285 miles and women at 1,001 miles. The largest discrepancy was seen in the third most popular event, a sports game: Women would drive an average of 567 miles to grace the bleachers, while men would hit the road for a whopping 781 miles. Go, team!

Fan Fervor

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Americans have spoken, and they want you to take them out to a college football game, a PGA event, or a soccer game, depending on where they are from. While football is often regarded as America’s favorite sport, our study revealed people were more likely to go the distance for soccer and sports other than professional football. Westerners said they would travel the farthest for some college football action, while Southerners would go the second farthest distance for a golf tournament.

Sports Leagues Ranked

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No matter where they hail from, nearly everyone has a sports league that’s bound to get them out of their seats and into the car. For the majority of Americans, that league is the NCAAF or college football. Even though college football viewership was down overall in 2017, our respondents’ love for the game remained well-fueled: They were willing to drive an average of 773 miles to sit in the stands. MLS and PGA rounded out the race between the top three sports leagues, at 764 and 731 miles, respectively.

Between men and women, the most outstanding discrepancy was between PGA fans. Women who wanted to see the golf game of the year were willing to drive a whopping average of 1,114 miles, higher than any other distance on the board by hundreds of miles. Men felt the exact opposite, offering only 543 miles on average – a few hundred miles less than men’s first, third, and fourth slots. It seems that PGA’s third-place spot was sustained entirely by the female population!

Culinary Cults

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This map confirms the love for fast food is alive and well. Using the example of the cult of In-N-Out Burger, consumers are willing to go the distance for what they want. Taco Bell, in particular, can pull in foodies from the West from an average of 948 miles away, a force more powerful than its chicken-centric cousin.

As was the case for sports games, the West was once again the most gung-ho about a road trip – this time, for the love of food and drink. The average resident was ready to drive at least 721 miles for Chick-fil-A, and even farther for Jack in the Box and Taco Bell. The Midwest and South indulged in name-brand fried chicken and burgers, while the Northeast craved a West Coast original, In-N-Out, enough to drive nearly 700 miles to consume it.

Fast Food Destinations Ranked

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There’s something about Checkers that has Americans willing to go to serious lengths for a mouthful of burger. People were willing to commute over 1,000 miles for their burgers and fries, a number propped up largely by male respondents: They had an average of 1,365 miles in their tanks in the name of Checkers, while women had about half that amount. In February 2018, this fast-food giant took a comical stab at Taco Bell, our survey’s third-place joint – kick ’em while they’re down, Checkers!

The male and female opinion varied wildly for this portion of the survey, though, with certain restaurants like Taco Bell, Arby’s, and KFC divided along gender lines. Second-place In-N-Out Burger was a crowd pleaser for all, with both men and women willing to drive approximately 650 miles apiece.

Conclusion

According to our study, some Americans would be willing to drive hundreds of miles or more depending on the occasion or destination. In fact, in 2015, Americans drove a record 3.15 trillion miles – meaning it may be safe to assume the road trip is here to stay. No matter the distance you’re willing to go for a once-in-a-lifetime sports event or fast food craving, drivers need to protect themselves and their vehicles: Spending time in the car means opening yourself up to the possibility of certain road hazards.

Put your mind at ease and focus on the beauty of the open road by purchasing the right insurance. Don’t leave the driveway before visiting CheapCarInsurance.net for a quote that suits your needs and lifestyle.

Methodology

We surveyed 1,012 Americans about the events they would drive for. We had 469 male participants and 543 female participants, with an average age of 37.5 years and a standard deviation of 12 years. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 81 years of old.

We weighted the data to the 2016 U.S. census projections for gender and state. Hypotheses were not statistically tested. We excluded respondent answers that exceeded 9,000 miles as a distance a respondent was willing to drive.

The data we are presenting rely on self-reporting. There are many issues with self-reported data. These issues include but are not limited to: selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration.

Fair Use Statement

Want to take our studies on the road? Feel free to share this with fellow adventurous drivers for noncommercial purposes only, but don’t forget to credit us for the work.