Family Road Trip 2020: Low Gas Prices, Flexible Work Schedules Inspire Summer Car Travel


More than half (54%) of American drivers surveyed say that they prefer a road trip to a plane ride when getting away this summer, according to results of a motorist study released by, a one-stop destination for unbiased, expert advice on car insurance.

Road trips remain the top choice for summer vacations (97%) even during the pandemic, according to a recent AAA report, and’s annual survey of 1,000 drivers confirms that people love road trips so much that 34% are willing to travel over 1,000 miles to get away. The research shares what family road trip experiences are like, what they do for entertainment en route and what types of mishaps they’ve had due to poor road conditions. 

This year, finds that only 23% of people say their work schedule is preventing them from taking the family on a road trip, a significant drop from the 41% who couldn’t get away from work in 2018. With more employees working remotely, it may be easier than ever to combine business with pleasure and be productive during parts of a vacation. 

The research also shows that attitudes have changed as far as booking hotels and finding places to stay when travelling. While 17% of respondents reported difficulty with hotels as a chief reason to avoid a road trip in 2018, only 8% of respondents complained about lodging in the 2020 survey.

How do people describe family road trips this year compared to the past two years?  

How drivers described their family road trip experience202020192018
Super fun, we will do it again70%73%69%
Stressful, yet enjoyable39%36%40%
Much more fighting than at home6%8%7%
Someone had a meltdown within an hour of the trip7%12%7%
Someone had a meltdown before we left the neighborhood6%6%3%

Coping with traffic

While on the road, 37% of drivers surveyed say they feel content, versus 44% who were happy last year. Only 11% feel either stressed or angry. 

How do Americans cope when they experience traffic delays? 

  • 71% listened to music
  • 36% talked or texted on the phone
  • 30% listened to news
  • 19% ate an entire meal
  • 18% listened to audiobooks or podcasts
  • 18% listened to sports radio
  • 12% got work done
  • 12% called people who they weren’t particularly close to because they were bored
  • 6% cried

Some drivers failed to cope with heavy traffic. Seven percent had an accident, 6% reported an altercation with another driver and 6% received a traffic ticket.

Impact of Accidents

Road conditions are increasingly poor, according to Department of Transportation statistics. Drivers resort to changing their route to avoid bad roads (55%), sustaining minor vehicle damage (29%) and hitting objects in the road (17%) as a result of lousy roads.

Just one accident can raise your yearly car insurance rate by 32%, or $450 a year, on average, according to’s auto insurance rate data analysis. 

Whether you’ve experienced an accident or not, you can save on car insurance by comparing rates, stresses Les Masterson, managing editor. “You may save significantly by comparison shopping, as pricing varies significantly among insurers for the same coverage,” explains Masterson.

It’s especially critical to shop around after an accident. Your current company may assess risk differently than others, and may no longer be the most affordable. Our rate analysis of six major insurers shows drivers can save an average of $1,100 by comparing car insurance quotes after an accident.

Les Masterson