Public speaking just lost the top spot as the most feared task for the young generation.

Distracted, dangerous drivers are now their first concern, new research funded by Ford finds.

Generation Z consumers are more afraid of other motorists driving dangerously than death, public speaking, 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 per cent)
  • Public speaking (75 per cent)
  • Death (74 per cent)
  • Spiders (69 per cent)
  • Snakes (69 per cent)

“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 per cent)
  • Manoeuvring into a tight parking spot (75 per cent)
  • Backing out onto a busy street (74 per cent)
  • Monitoring blind spots (70 per cent)
  • Not knowing where I’m going (69 per cent)

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). The online survey was conducted between April 29 and May 4, 2015; the margin of error is +/- 3.1 per cent.

Ford says the new research validates its decision to offer technologies that will help drivers with common driving concerns. Ford has now announced it will 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 per cent want technology to detect objects in blind spots.

Contact the writer at keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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