Superstitions are hard to shake. Who doesn't feel a little luckier when they find a penny on the sidewalk (heads up, of course), or would brazenly walk under a ladder on Friday the 13th?
Superstitious rituals are most powerful when there's underlying fear and anxiety involved. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that Americans fall back on all sorts of crazy superstitions when they drive.
According to a recent national survey by the car insurance marketplace Netquote, 30 percent of American women and 35 percent of American men hold their breath while driving in tunnels (the most popular superstition). The second-most popular was lifting feet when passing over a bridge or railroad.
About a quarter of respondents carried some kind of good-luck item in their cars, like a rosary or rabbit's foot. "We were expecting superstitious practices on the road to be pretty uncommon, so it was surprising to discover that over one in five men and women drive with some sort of lucky charm in their vehicle," says Jason Hargraves, managing editor of NetQuote via email.
In a separate survey, Netquote asked drivers about their most common driving-related fears, including some classic urban legends. The biggest fear by far for both sexes was fake cops pulling people over. Nearly half of woman and more than a third of men shared this fear. While such crimes are extremely rare, they do happen, so drivers shouldn't hesitate to ask to see a police officer's identification if something doesn't feel right.
In general women tended to have more fears while driving than men. For example, more than twice as many female drivers (22.5 percent) were afraid of someone hiding in the back seat of the car as compared to men (11 percent). But slightly more men than women believed that car thieves jam coins into a door handle so that it stays open after the driver thinks that he's locked it.