Via Snapshot, Progressive Gifts Useful Tips to Holiday Drivers

Attention, procrastinators (also, a note to self): T-minus one week until Christmas.

It is no doubt the year’s most stressful countdown, so car insurer Progressive spread its own kind of holiday cheer on Wednesday by gifting America’s mobs of increasingly frazzled shoppers with some timely driving advice.

After all, there’s a thin line between procrastination and just plain late, so “knowing when to stay off the roads this season may save you time, money and frustration,” the insurer said in a statement.

According to Progressive, holiday motorists are “idling in traffic” a quarter of the time that they are driving. Progressive’s findings were based on data provided through the carrier’s usage-based insurance (UBI) program called Snapshot, which monitors driving habits behind the wheel and offers safer motorists discounts on auto policies through a small device that plugs into the vehicle diagnostic port.

The holiday advisory was based on more than 9 billion miles of Snapshot-supplied driving data, according to Progressive. Dave Pratt, Progressive’s general manager of usage-based insurance, said the insurer is “always trying to find real-world applications of our analysis.”

“It doesn’t get any more real than losing precious time sitting in traffic,” he said, adding that drivers on the road on Thursdays “may spend less time idling” than on Friday or Saturday.

Progressive Helps Holiday Drivers with Best Days, Times to Be on the Road

In fact, Fridays are the “worst day of the week to be on the road,” according to the Snapshot data. On the other hand, Progressive said the data showed that Sundays and Tuesdays were the best days to be a driver.

In addition, “the best day to shop in the final days leading up to Christmas” is likely Dec. 22, which Progressive said “should yield the least amount of congestion.”

The auto insurer offered the following wisdoms that drivers should put to use during the “last few days of the holiday season”:

  • A Shopping Deadline for Early Finishers: Progressive said that “the early bird gets the worm” so “finish your errands by 10 a.m. when the fewest number of drivers are on the road.”
  • A Shopping Deadline for Late Starters: Progressive said that “night owls will face fewer drivers on the road” so “take advantage of extended holiday hours and shop after 8 p.m. to avoid crowded roads.”
  • Hold Up on Gift Givebacks: Progressive said data showed that the month’s “highest idling time” occurs between Dec. 26 and Dec. 29, so gift-returners who want to avoid the bigger crowds should wait a bit to show up to the customer service line.

Parking Lots are Problem Areas During Holidays

Progressive said that holiday motorists should be especially careful while in parking lots, a common site for fender benders and minor crashes during those times of the year when shoppers are out in greater numbers.

In 2012, Progressive released a study on claims stemming from parking-lot crashes and found a much higher rate of such collisions occurring on the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy called Black Friday, compared to other Fridays.

According to Progressive, drivers should be on “high alert” in parking lots and can take extra precaution by parking their vehicles further “back in the parking lot, away from the commotion of the store.”

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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