Despite Lockdowns, Americans Still Count on Their Cars to Cope with the Pandemic

Traffic on I-405 in Los Angeles is uncharacteristically light in the wake of the coronavirus.

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DETROIT, MI (04.22.2020) – With most of the U.S. currently facing shelter-in-place orders, Americans have gotten creative in finding ways to keep themselves entertained, especially those that have children locked down at home with them – and for many, the automobile offers a variety of solutions.

While travel is largely restricted and most folks are now working from home, that doesn’t mean motorists are putting their cars up on blocks. Whether getting out for a wandering weekend drive, or transforming them into makeshift offices, having a vehicle offers some creative options.

“People may be sheltering in place across the country but make no mistake, they are hitting the roads for a brief escape from their homes,” said Matt Schmitz, assistant managing editor. “Our research shows that people just need a break from the daily monotony, and cars are serving as a safe, personal retreat.”

A Sunday drive can help beat the blues for those otherwise locked up during the pandemic.

One of the most popular uses finds families reviving a classic American pastime. Nearly 60% of the parents who responded to the survey said they have been making a point of taking everyone in the household out for a leisurely Sunday drive. About 45% of non-parents said they’re doing the same thing.

While that Sunday drive may be a great way for a family to escape the feeling that the four walls at home are closing in, parents also are using their cars as a way to occasionally get away from the kids. According to the Cars survey, 53% of parents said they’ll occasionally slip out and drive off for some alone time.

The good news is that it’s cheaper than it has been in years to make the occasional outing, even if there’s no real destination in mind. Fuel prices have continued to tumble and, according to the latest data from AAA fell to an average $1.80 for a gallon of self-serve regular on Tuesday.

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