14 February 20246 minute read

Where Romance and Rubber Meet the Road

Where Romance and Rubber Meet the Road

Over 1,500 Americans share how cars and driving habits impact their love life.

Key takeaways

  • Road rage is responsible for 41% of breakups caused by bad driving.
  • Driving under the influence is the No. 1 driving turnoff (74%).
  • Mercedes-Benz is the most attractive car brand, and Toyota is the brand owned by the best romantic partners.

Revving up attraction 

Buckle up, love seekers, as we embark on a journey that explores how your car and driving skills can play a surprising role in your dating adventures. 

From the subtle seduction of a smooth ride to the unspoken deal breakers of loud and dirty cars, we surveyed 1,555 individuals about how driving impacts their dating life. Read on to discover what they said, and explore the fascinating world of automotive attraction.

Caution: Romantic dead end ahead

Have you ever wondered if bad driving is a deal breaker for potential partners? Or if the car you drive will leave your love life stalled and stranded? 

Let’s put the pedal to the metal and find out the biggest car and driving turnoffs!

Dating and driving deal breakers

Our survey surfaced some intriguing statistics sure to make your wheels spin. 

Almost three-quarters of respondents (74%) said driving under the influence was the biggest driving turnoff. We can’t say we blame them!

But if losing out on hot dates isn’t enough of a deterrent, driving under the influence can also land you with a criminal record, jail time, and tens of thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees. You could also have your license revoked — have fun explaining that on a first date.

Following driving under the influence, 73% of participants said road rage and texting while driving — both also extremely dangerous — were the biggest turnoffs. In essence, if you’re looking for romantic success, you might want to avoid putting your date’s life in danger while you drive to dinner.

To calm any mounting road rage, some drivers listen to music. However, if you’re looking to set the musical mood on your date, choose your background tunes wisely. Over one-quarter of respondents (28%) were turned off by gospel music, so much so that they called it a deal breaker if their date turned it on. Metal was the biggest cringe-inducer for women (28%), and the twang of country music left the most men (29%) reaching for the door.

The gender divide continued as women were a staggering 83% more likely than men to consider bad driving an absolute romantic deal breaker.

Key takeaway: Driving under the influence, road rage, and texting while driving will make roadkill out of your love life.

Hitting the brakes

Lousy driving can hit the brakes on romance faster than a red light.

Let’s check out the driving habits most likely to leave partners questioning their compatibility on the highway of love.

Relationship breakdowns

Bad driving was a point of contention in the relationships of 41% of respondents. Sadly, those freeway fights led to breakups for a small but unfortunate 7% of people.

As for the bad driving habits that led to these breakups, the worst arguments tied back to the deal breakers respondents listed above. Road rage was the most common reason for bad driving breakups and was responsible for 41% of them.

Second to road rage, speeding was the cause of despair for 40% of couples, and driving under the influence crashed 39% of relationships.

While men and women might agree on ending relationships over road rage, speeding, and DUIs, some driving habits were more likely to drive away women. A majority of women (55%) were upset when their partner didn’t wear a seatbelt; only 40% of men were bothered if their bae wasn’t buckled up.

Road posturing was also likely to turn away female partners, as 51% were peeved by constant revving at red lights. Women were also 37% more likely to be turned off by excessively loud cars, so don’t leave home without your muffler if you want to come home with a lady.

True tales from the road

We asked respondents about their worst experiences driving while dating. Here are a few of the craziest stories we received.

Driving while nervous

“I dated a lady once, and she insisted that she drive her new car on the date. She picked me up, and I could tell she was a bit nervous. We proceeded down the road, and she entered the freeway.

“I was looking at my phone for directions, and when I looked up, she was going in the wrong direction on the freeway. I yelled, ‘STOP! You’re going the wrong way!’ She said, ‘No, I’m not. I know this road.’

“She then pulled over and realized she was going the wrong way. She turned the car around, and we went to the next exit, where she pulled over and said, ‘Would you mind driving? Because you make me nervous.’” — 52–year-old man

Failure to obey warning signs

“Before I started dating a guy I spent 13 years with, I saw him approaching a driveway as I was waiting to pull out of it. He turned right into the driveway but failed to use his turn signal.

“I grumbled to myself about the poor communication because I could have pulled out if I’d known he was going to turn. Then I noticed it was my date!

“I should have seen it as a red flag for poor communication skills overall. I spent 13 subsequent years frustrated with his secretiveness, lies, and inability to express his feelings.

“Now I check someone’s driving before getting serious with them.” — 57-year-old woman

Hit and jaywalking

“I was in a relationship with a woman once, and we were riding down the road in her car. She spotted someone jaywalking up the road.

“She immediately flew into road rage and started using profanity. She sped up the car and tried to hit the man.

“The man narrowly dodged the car. I freaked out and asked her what she was doing. She told me that he shouldn’t have been jaywalking. I broke up with her shortly after that.” — 33-year-old man

Key takeaway: Bad driving habits can lead to heated arguments among couples and even the end of relationships.

The spark(plugs) of desire

Sometimes, it’s not just Cupid’s arrow that strikes the heart; the appeal of someone’s car can also rev up the engine of attraction.

From sleek sports cars to rugged pickup trucks, let’s find out which rides get owners the most action.

Hot rods and sex drive

When it comes to automotive allure, Mercedes-Benz takes the crown. The car brand was voted the most attractive, and its owners reported having the most sex. However, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship rather than a backseat booty call, owners of Toyota vehicles were perceived as, by far, the best romantic partners.

As for attractive car types, women were most drawn to the elegance of luxury cars, while men chased after partners with speedy sports cars. But if you’re looking to attract any kind of partner, you might want to consider buying your next car in black, as 40% of respondents said it was the most attractive car color.

Key takeaway: Mercedes-Benz was the most attractive car brand overall, but Toyota was the preferred choice for serious romantic partners.

Roadmap for a successful relationship

As you navigate through dating, remember that your driving habits and car choices can significantly impact your love life.

For the smoothest relationship ride, be a safe and considerate driver, clean and maintain your vehicle, and carefully choose your date night playlists.

If you show potential partners that you’re a good catch and a good driver, you might be lucky enough to reach your destination.


Circuit surveyed 1,555 people on their car and driving opinions and how it impacts their dating life. Among them, 49% were women, 49% were men, and 2% were nonbinary.

About Circuit for Teams

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Fair use statement

Ready to share these fascinating findings with your single friends and fellow car enthusiasts? Go ahead and spread the relationship wisdom, but remember to keep it noncommercial and provide a link back to this page as your source.

Circuit for Teams is a simple software for optimizing routes with multiple drivers. Click here to start your free 14-day trial.

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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