5 minute read

Delivery Drivers’ Biggest Pet Peeves

What are delivery drivers’ biggest pet peeves during the holidays, and what makes the job worth it? We got these sentiments straight from the source.

The holidays are a busy time for delivery drivers. We asked 600 of them about their biggest pet peeves this time of year.

Key takeaways

  • 53% of delivery drivers work three weeks or more of overtime a month around the holiday season.
  • Delivery drivers say Indiana is the state with the worst drivers.
  • 89% of delivery drivers say Christmas is their busiest holiday. Their top pet peeves during the season are others speeding and customers who intercept package deliveries. 

It’s easy for online shoppers to take for granted what goes into getting their packages delivered on time, especially during the holidays. Whether you’re full-time or working for extra cash on the side, this might be the toughest time of year to be a delivery driver.

To dig into their worst experiences and what keeps them going despite the picky customers, rush orders, and long, cold hours, we surveyed hundreds of drivers about delivering during the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Here’s what they told us and what might be in store for you in the coming months.

The perks 

People love to shop online during the holidays, but it can cause a lot of stress when you’re the one delivering the gifts. Do you feel like Santa or the Grinch making deliveries this time of year? 

Here’s what our respondents had to say. 

The busy season

Nearly all drivers (98%) said they actually prefer working during the holidays compared to the rest of the year. According to 72%, that’s because of all the tips from customers filled with the spirit of giving, offering drivers anywhere from $5 to 20% of their order total

It might also be why so many of them (especially FedEx drivers) work overtime during the winter — often two to three weeks each month. But do drivers get a holiday of their own?

Most of them will: 85% said they plan to take some time off during the holiday season. But sadly, 8% might not. At least they’ll be making the big bucks helping to get those last-minute gifts under the tree. 

But customers looking to avoid spoiling the surprise will often try to intercept a package drop-off, disrupting the driver’s workflow. No wonder this was the No. 1 customer-related headache reported by the delivery drivers we surveyed.  

However, one of the biggest pet peeves was also among the greatest sources of joy for drivers working through the holidays. While 20% said they hate it when their drop-offs get obstructed by decorations, 48% named these festive outdoor spectacles as the reason they love working this time of year.

Key Takeaway:  98% of delivery drivers prefer working during the holiday season.

The pitfalls

While playing Santa can feel warm and fuzzy, delivering the holiday experience has its cold spots. Let’s hear from our drivers about where the worst wintertime drivers are and what lands them on their naughty list.

The worst drivers

Indiana drivers might be getting the most lumps of coal in their stockings this year. Delivery drivers agreed this was the worst state to drive in during the busy holiday season — maybe because of all the interstates that crisscross through the capital and the snowy weather?

But runners-up, California and North Carolina might also get a few lumps unless they cut down on speeding or driving too slowly (especially in the fast lane). Those were reportedly the biggest pet peeves for delivery drivers on the road this time of year. 

City drivers got the most flack, according to our survey. More than half of delivery drivers said city drivers are the slowest, three-quarters accused them of being the most distracted, and a whopping 87% said they’re the most aggressive. 

Delivery drivers in trucks were more bothered by distracted driving than anyone else, and with good reason. If you’re driving a large vehicle and someone in a tiny sedan is texting while driving next to you, they’re putting everyone around you in danger. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds is like “driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.” And who knows how much egg nog they’ve had before getting behind that wheel.

Key takeaway: Indiana is the worst state to drive in during the holidays, according to delivery drivers. 

Over the river or through the woods?

Map apps are a blessing when you’re trying to pay attention to the road in front of you. But when they go awry, it can really toss a candy cane into Santa’s pipeline.

Delivery drivers let us know about the biggest issues they’ve had with their GPS maps at work.

A mapping mess

Sometimes, your map will reroute you if there’s an accident ahead or a shortcut opens up nearby. This can be helpful, but it was the biggest issue faced by those with a delivery route to stick to (60%).

Taking a scenic detour can be pleasant, especially when there’s snow on the ground. But that can also be the worst time for your map to put you on a back road, especially if it’s not plowed and your vehicle isn’t up to the task

More than half of delivery drivers’ biggest mapping pet peeve was being directed through back roads (58%). Being routed through small towns was almost just as bad (56%), with all those tricky side roads and tight turns. 

Key takeaway: Rerouting without permission was the top pet peeve for delivery drivers using mapping apps.

A holly, jolly workday

While you might be happy to rake in more tips and overtime pay during the winter season, you’ll want to prepare for a stressful couple of months. Tensions are high across the board, even for those on the receiving end of those holiday packages.

But drivers, especially, experience stress at every turn this time of year. They pointed out their biggest triggers in cities and small towns alike, and their turn-by-turn directions haven’t always been super helpful.

Still, almost every delivery driver we asked loves working during the holidays. Who wouldn’t take pride in getting all those gifts to their destinations in time for the big celebration?

Methodology 

Circuit surveyed 600 delivery drivers about their job around the holidays; 54% were men, and 46% were women. As for their rides, 74% drove either their personal vehicle or employer-provided vehicle, and 26% drove an employer-provided truck. At the time of the survey, 57% were working as couriers, 39% as food delivery drivers, and 4% as truck drivers. 

Circuit Route Planner

However many stops your sleigh is making this year, you’ll get those gifts to their destinations on time, every time with Circuit Route Planner. Our route optimization tools and expert courier tips will make your busy season a breeze.

Fair Use Statement

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Published17 November 2022
Updated17 November 2022
AuthorHeather Reinblatt
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About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.

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