Drivers and passengers can reduce the stress of their shared car journeys if they only take some simple steps to plan their journey, drive more considerately and consider their listening material.
Proof of that was delivered by a recent Nissan study highlighting the most common causes of stress between drivers and passengers on a car journey. The study discovered that unsafe driving and mobile phone usage are the leading causes of in-car arguments for European motorists. 45% identified using the phone or texting while driving as the principle reason for disputes between occupants. Meanwhile, 39% identified dangerous overtaking as the biggest cause and more than a third of motorists pinpointing last-minute braking (35%) as the top culprits.
European motorists’ top five causes of in-car arguments:
Using the phone while driving/texting while driving (45%)
Dangerous overtaking (39%)
Last-minute braking (35%)
Sudden or harsh braking unnecessarily (33%)
As well as being the chief causes of in-car friction, unsafe driving and mobile phone usage have an even wider impact for the on-road experience. Nearly three-quarters [72%] of the survey participants state that using the phone while driving or texting behind the wheel are together the worst driving habits and a large source of stress between drivers and passengers.
Furthermore, these traits are even more concerning for European drivers than dangerous overtaking and tailgating, with 59% and 55% selecting these as the worst habits respectively.
When it comes to avoiding in-car arguments, European drivers can call on a range of technological features to maintain in-car harmony. Over a third of respondents [37%] highlighted the use of digital navigation aides as the ideal solution, followed by advanced safety features (34%) such as intelligent cruise control for peace of mind, followed by hands-free mobile phone technology (33%) and driving assistance technologies (32%).
Motorists value good tunes above nearly all else for great car journeys
In addition to the top causes of tension on the road, the research also sheds light on what European motorists favour for an enjoyable, stress-free journey. Safe driving (59%) and good music (55%) are the order of the day for European drivers, with these identified as the most important ingredients for enhancing enjoyment behind the wheel.
Even when being driven by others, half (50%) of European motorists prioritise music as the top way of putting the joy into the journey, as 32% state that agreement on music choices is one of the most important. Coming ahead of finding a good parking spot (24%), top tunes are prized over practicality for European drivers.
Drivers are creatures of comfort
When it comes to the in-car features that make an enjoyable journey, comfort and technology continue to be front-of-mind. Nearly two-thirds [62%] of European motorists choose comfy seats above all, with spacious interiors (43%) the second most-popular – making serenity and relaxation the key priorities for a harmonious and relaxing car journey.
The technological wish-list revealed
European drivers crave multiple aspects of in-vehicle technology to help them behind the wheel; advanced safety features (39%), navigation technology (39%), hands-free mobile phone functionality (36%) and smartphone connectivity (35%) proved to be the most popular for making car journeys more enjoyable.
Top Stress-Busting Tips
Sort your ‘phone out first
Using the phone whilst driving is European drivers’ number one WORST driving habit. As well as being dangerous, it can also cause in-car arguments with passengers who feel unsafe! Most new cars now feature seamless smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so incoming calls and messages can be safely digested. Pair your ‘phones before you start your journey.
Good music the key to joyful driving
Did you know… 55% of Europeans believe good music is the most important ingredient for an enjoyable car journey! Have a great journey by ensuring everyone has time to shine as a DJ and taking it in turns to select songs. Agree on a playlist with your passengers before you depart.
Did you know… 46% of European drivers single out tailgating as one of the most irritating driving habits behind the wheel? Keep any sudden surprises at bay by giving yourself at least two seconds’ following distance to the vehicle in front (remember, this is a bigger gap the faster you are driving!).
Many new models now have advanced driving assistance systems that not only help drivers maintain a set distance on the highway but also accelerate and decelerate the vehicle to match the car in front - and will help you stay in lane.
Enjoy a break
Did you know… Nearly one in five European drivers admit to battling through tiredness and not stopping regularly on long journeys. We all feel drained during a long car journey, so take the time to pull over and have a rest; whether it’s a nap or a coffee, it’ll keep you alert and everyone on-board safe and sound.
Many new cars now have Intelligent Driver Alertness features that keep a watchful eye on the driver’s steering patterns, and alert them with a chime and a coffee cup icon on the display screen to remind them to take a break.
Spot the car!
Did you know… 56% of European car passengers admit that dangerous and misjudged overtakes make them feel most uneasy in the car. When going for the overtake, always take a good look around to make sure the next lane is clear and there’s nothing coming up quickly behind you.