What do you think is the average number of miles Americans drive per day? If you guessed under 30 miles per day, you would be right.

Traffic jam
Maciej Korzekwa, ThinkStock

A new American Driving Survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Urban Institute takes a comprehensive look at how much Americans drive on a daily and yearly basis in an effort to reveal trends about driving habits.

"This is the first ongoing study that provides a look at when and how much Americans are driving," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "This data, when combined with available crash data, will allow us to conduct unique, timely studies on crash rates for the first time so we can identify specific problems and evaluate various safety countermeasures to a degree never before possible."

First-year data, collected from May 2013 through May 2014 from 3,319 drivers, reveals that Americans drive, on average, 29.2 miles per day, making two trips that total 46 minutes. It totals 10,658 miles per year.

Among the genders, women drive more than men, according to the study:

  • Women take more driving trips, but men spend 25 percent more time behind the wheel and drive 35 percent more miles than women.
  • Both teenagers and seniors over the age of 75 drive less than any other age group; motorists 30-49 years old drive an average 13,140 miles annually, more than any other age group.

The survey also reveals a driver's level of education can have a direct impact on how much time they spend in the car:

  • The average distance and time spent driving increase in relation to higher levels of education. A driver with a grade school or some high school education drove an average of 19.9 miles and 32 minutes daily, while a college graduate drove an average of 37.2 miles and 58 minutes.

Location also impacts the amount of miles driven per day, according to the study:

  • Drivers who reported living "in the country" or "a small town" drive greater distances (12,264 miles annually) and spend a greater amount of time driving than people who described living in a "medium sized town" or city (9,709 miles annually).
  • Motorists in the South drive the most (11,826 miles annually), while those in the Northeast drive the least (8,468 miles annually).

The survey also shows that driving can increase or decrease depending on the day of the week or the time of year:

  • On average, Americans drive fewer miles on the weekend than on weekdays.
  • Americans drive, on average, the least during winter months (January through March) at 25.7 miles daily; they drive the most during the summer months (July through September) at 30.6 miles daily.

Noble said the last time federal traffic data was released with this sort of data was eight years ago.

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