Wheely Stressful – The arguments that fuel the Great British Getaway

  • More than a cliché – Most children ask ‘Are we there yet?’ within the first 30 minutes of the start of a journey.
  • Parents are more likely to argue in the car when kids are present.
  • Too many toilet breaks is just taking the pee, according to most men!


London UK – Summer is here and the holiday season is finally underway, bringing with it that daunting phenomenon – the long distance car journey, with kids.

Holidaying with your children is hugely rewarding and can be the highlight of the year; the problem is that first you need to reach your destination, and we all know what horrors that can bring, tears,  tantrums and travel sickness are but three of them!

Vehicle leasing firm OSV have commissioned a survey to find out what can make or break the Great British Car Journey and found that for 62% the perennial issue of speed irked them the most.

926 parents answered questions about their experiences travelling with children. While some of the results were far from surprising – over three quarters (77%) of parents will argue with their partner while on a long journey, a likelihood enhanced by having children on board – the grounds for these quarrels were diverse, ranging from frequency of loo breaks to style of driving.

Toilet breaks were actually the most frequent spark for ill humour in men, impatient with the demands of little bladders, while for women it’s driving style (and, we suspect, criticism thereof) that got the most goats. The five most inflammatory subjects turned out to be:

  • Toilet breaks – 90% of men questioned found the frequency of loo breaks an irritation, with 66% of all interviewees mentioning it as an annoyance.
  • Mess – Children aren’t known for their tidiness and when the mess is confined to a car it can be hard to overlook. 67% of parents found it a problem.
  • Speed – Given that it’s such a perennial issue, it’s surprising that speed only irked 62%.
  • Backseat bickering – ‘You’re on my side.’ ‘No, this is my side.’ ‘Mum, Sarah’s taking up all the room.’ ‘Daddy, Jennifer kicked me!’ This sort of business tried the patience of 49% … the only surprise is that it didn’t annoy more!
  • Driving style – 32% of women found comments about their driving style to be the instigator of many arguments.

Sadly, the exasperations don’t stop there, with a good percentage of people stating that choices of music (28%), and finding directions (24%) are an additional cause of in-car tension.

Last, but by no means least, we have that old comedy classic: Are we there yet? It seems fated that throughout the ages any child placed in a car will demand to know just how much of their precious time we intend to eat up with a long, and in their mind, pointless journey. No matter what precautions we take, it seems that the cherubs can endure nothing more than a 30 minute drive before those feted words rend the peace. Not satisfied with the first answer, they will repeat the question an average of six times throughout a two hour journey… Then perform an encore, all the way home!

OSV co-founder Andrew Kirkley said:

‘Long car journeys are enough to try anyone’s patience, but when you have children along too, there’s little wonder that tempers unravel. It’s interesting to see the different triggers for men and women, and it might help to reduce the number of cross words if we’re all aware of what makes our partners see red.”

Rachel Richardson
  • 11th July 2016

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