Does it seem like you’re spending more and more time in your car staring at the brake lights in front of you? You’re not imagining things. According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the total amount of time that American rush-hour commuters in 2014 spent stuck in traffic was about 6.9 billion hours, up from 6.4 billion in 2010.

“The amount of time the average driver spends behind the wheel each year is equivalent to seven 40-hour weeks at the office,” says Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which conducted a 2015 American Driving Survey. “It’s clear that traveling by car remains a central part of Americans’ lives.” In 2015, Americans drove 2.45 trillion miles, a 2.4-percent increase over 2014.

Given the increase in time Americans are spending in their cars, promotional car accessories can have a great effect on making that driving time safer and more enjoyable, while giving brands a captive audience. So, what products are most popular for drivers?

Sol Falkenstein, product knowledge specialist for St Regis Group, which includes K&R Precision Corp. (PPAI 112266), says, “Flashlights, phone power banks, phone chargers and travel drinkware are the most commonly used promotional products in the vehicle and the most popular with the auto industry.”

But don’t forget to tap into new products, he says. “Some of the more interesting new promotional [products] include wireless phone speakers, hands-free magnetic phone holders, side-window breakers and some of the new generation of multipurpose emergency flashlights.”

With the widespread media attention on the growing number of distracted driving accidents, “hands-free, safety and emergency themes always resonate with consumers, creating social awareness, driving communal responsibility, showing a willingness to help others and generating that feel-good factor,” Falkenstein explains.

As technology changes at lightning speed, automotive promotional accessories are working to keep pace with a growing variety of new products in the marketplace. “Fast-developing trends in the promo market are products that integrate the use of smartphones more safely into our vehicles, and the increasing selection of cost-effective, innovative, portable emergency tools not previously available,” Falkenstein adds.

Choose Products Like These To Drive Brand Recall In The Car

Every car or truck should have this 6.5-inch x 3 1/8-inch tool readily accessible in case of an accident. The Emergency features almost everything needed to escape a wrecked vehicle and call for help including an emergency light, flashlight, glass breaker, airbag punch, seat belt cutter and whistle. It comes in silver and includes a one-color, one-location imprint.

K&R Precision Corp. / PPAI 112266 /







Use one touch to shine a light on hard-to-see areas with this unique suction-mounted click-on emergency flashlight with soft silicone coating, perfect for roadside emergencies. The first click illuminates eight super-bright white LED bulbs; the second click switches to four flashing red LED bulbs. Three AAA batteries are included.

Sweda Company, LLC / PPAI 113914 /





When a jump-start is needed, reach for these eight-gauge booster cables with 200-AMP PVC-wrapped steel clamps with copper-plated teeth. The cables are stored in a 420D polyester bag with a front clear vinyl window that displays a four-color process custom insert card. Apply a direct screen print above the window holding the stock insert card for extra messaging options. The cables meet SAE standards and include booster cable instructions.

Justin Case / PPAI 263175 /




The Gund Baby Bear adds an emotional touch for automotive clients. Suggest this adorable bear to luxury car dealerships to be used as a thank-you gift for making an appointment at their service center or after the purchase of a new car. Placing the bear in the passenger seat with the seat belt fastened or in a children’s car seat is a fun way to surprise a family that has purchased a new car.

Vitronic / PPAI 114197 /


Be ready for any outdoor adventure by keeping this unscented SPF 30 broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen in the glovebox. Its only active ingredient is zinc oxide, which sits on top of the skin to scatter, absorb and reflect UVA and UVB rays. Other high-quality organic ingredients include beeswax and coconut oil and the formula is water resistant for 80 minutes. It’s available in two easy-to-stow sizes: a one-ounce bottle or a 1.7-ounce bottle.

Raining Rose, Inc. / PPAI 232508




Keep the interior of a car cool with this accordion-fold Mylar sunshade. It has a silver reflective surface for maximum protection from the sun, and suction cups keep the sunshade open and close to the windshield. When not in use, the shade folds easily and elastic straps hold it closed for storage.

Proinnovative, Inc. / PPAI 111156 /





Cup-Holder Companions

Impress new clients with the Kilauea tumbler as your next giveaway. It can hold up to 20 ounces of any beverage within its double-wall vacuum-sealed 18/8 stainless steel construction. This insulated cup features a press-in, see-though lid and keeps drinks hot or cold for hours. It fits most car drink holders.

Makana Line, LLC / PPAI 649053 /






The exclusive Camelbak® Kickbak® tumbler is available in 20- or 30-ounce sizes and keeps drinks frosty for eight hours and piping hot for four hours with its double-walled, vacuum-insulated construction. The splash-proof lid features two openings: a small one for sipping and a wide one for chugging. It is 100-percent free of BPA and BPS, and features an ergonomic grip and a base that fits in most car cup holders.

The Allen Company / PPAI 113879 /




The ultimate in convenience, this handy silicone snack bowl snaps onto the top of a standard 12-ounce soft drink can to keep snacks handy and accessible. A hole for a straw allows users to sip the beverage and eat the snack at the same time, while reducing the possibility of messy spills.

The Sourcing Solution / PPAI 474924 /






On-The-Go Organization

An organized car deserves a fresh scent. With its patented design, the Hot Rod non-obstructive air freshener slides inside a car’s air conditioning vent to neutralize odors and circulate a fresh scent. The full-color Fireglaze™ imprint displays the advertiser’s brand where it can be seen every day. The freshener comes in the following color/scent combinations: orange/citrus blossom, white/coconut smoothie, tan/creamy vanilla, green/cucumber melon, teal/fresh linen, red/juicy cherry, dark blue/new car and light blue/summer breeze.

HandStand Promo / PPAI 111285 /


Every car needs this two-tone, durable 600D polyester trunk organizer. It has three large main compartments and each side has multiple small slit pockets. A separate matching cool er with heat-sealed PEVA lining easily fits a six-pack and prevents leakage.

Sweda Company, LLC / PPAI 113914 /






Perfect for the automotive industry, the Rand McNally© U.S. interstate map calendar is useful for any driver. Advertisers take advantage of ample ad space under a comprehensive view of the country’s interstate system that helps devise the best routes to the destination, and all points in between. Also included is the famous Rand McNally© mileage chart printed on the back of each calendar.

Tru Art Advertising Calendars / PPAI 113720 /




Make a bright statement with this green leather key tag. Made in the USA of top-grain cowhide, the tag can be imprinted on both sides and features stained edges with a tempered-spring steel ring.

Strong Leather / PPAI 113072 /




The Car Care Key Points card includes an oil-change record keeper as well as tips on what to do in case of an accident. The card, which folds to credit-card size, also contains information on car maintenance and safety tips. Keep it in the glove box for quick reference.

Fields Manufacturing / PPAI 111951 /






The Hang Around Bag is a perennial bestseller with automotive clients. Versatile straps and dual snaps let users adjust the handle length and hang the bag from seat headrests or door handles for easy access to contents. Auto dealers can use the bags to store DVDs or audio equipment. The bags also keep items within arm’s reach for backseat passengers. Rental car companies can use the bag to hold local maps or as litter bags to help renters keep the vehicle clean.

BAG MAKERS, Inc. / PPAI 111408 /


The New Wearable: Car Keys

Skydivers, surfers, runners, skiers and hikers rejoice! No longer do you have drag your bulky car keys along with you, or leave them behind and risk theft, when taking part in your favorite activity. Jaguar Land Rover’s F-PACE Activity Key is waterproof and similar in size to a Fitbit. It allows you to lock your keys inside the car by touching the Activity Key to the Jaguar logo on the trunk. That motion deactivates the keys inside so no one can break in and steal the car while you’re hitting the slopes or catching a wave.

Source: Wareable





Case Study

Car Repair Surprise

A car repair shop was celebrating its 10-year anniversary and wanted to give a gift to current customers to spread the word about the business. During a three-month period, every car that came for repair work went home with a USB car charger plugged into the car’s outlet when it left the shop. The charger, with its LED light-up branding, kept the shop’s name top of mind for any future repair work.

Source: Beacon Promotions





Survey Says…

The most recent American Driving Survey from AAA reveals data from 5,774 drivers who provided information about their daily driving trips in 2014 and 2015. Here are the significant findings from the survey to help you match the right product to the right audience.

Driving While Alone. Over 66 percent of total driving trips and nearly 62 percent of total miles driven are by solo drivers. Women are 24 percent more likely than men to have a passenger in the vehicle.

Cars Rule. More than 50 percent of miles driven are in cars, followed by SUVs (20 percent), pickup trucks (17 percent) and vans (7.9 percent).

Male Mileage. Men report driving 2,314 more miles than women per year, and spend 18 percent more time behind the wheel.

Truck Testosterone.

Men report doing a much greater share of their driving in pickup trucks compared to women, who say they do most of their driving in cars and SUVs.

Far Out. Rural residents drive more miles than city drivers.

Generation Gap. Drivers ages 30-49 drive the most of any other age group.

Leaf Peepers. On average, Americans drive the most during the fall and drive the least during the winter.