Top causes of car journey arguments revealed

Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 14:00
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Around 14 million cars take to UK roads during a bank holiday, causing traffic mayhem and providing the perfect catalyst for in-car arguments. Ahead of the upcoming extended weekend, ‘getting lost’ has been named as the main cause of arguments on car journeys. A third of UK respondents to a recent online survey (33%) cited this as the biggest cause of bust-ups with fellow passengers while on the road.

Conducted by audio and infotainment specialist HARMAN, the poll’s results listed bad driving habits such as sharp braking and speeding as the second biggest cause (22%), while the length of the journey was third (13%), closely followed by music choice (12%) as the fourth greatest cause of bickering while behind the wheel.

The biggest causes of arguments in the car, the results:

1)     Getting lost
2)     Bad driving habits (e.g. speeding, sharp braking)
3)     Length of journey
4)     Music choice
5)     Too much noise
6)     The driver refusing to ask for directions
7)     Too many rest/toilet breaks

“These results show just how stressful car journeys can be. However, many of the argument inciters identified in the poll can be helped with the latest in-car technology, driver aids and a good infotainment system,” said Matt Fisch, VP Global Engineering Audio SBU, Lifestyle Audio Division from HARMAN.

“State-of-the-art satellite navigation systems can help motorists find their destination and reach it quickly and more efficiently with the incorporation of real-time traffic updates. Clever driver aids can help improve some bad driving habits, while the length of journey is all about perception. If the journey is made enjoyable through the right in-car systems then the perceived length of the journey is much shorter. The benefits of these infotainment systems are only going to improve as our lives and cars become more connected.”

While getting lost can cause frustration, listening to ‘Let it go’ for the sixteenth time on repeat can be excruciating. HARMAN’s sound engineers identify with this problem too and have developed a system that has the potential for each person in the car to listen to their own preferred audio without disturbing others within the car.

Called Individual Sound Zones (ISZ), the system utilises the vehicle’s existing audio system speakers along with the addition of highly directional speakers in the car’s headrests and ceiling. This set-up, combined with specially adjusted state-of-the-art digital signal processing for the vehicle cabin, creates ‘sound zones’ for each of the passengers, with minimal interference between them. This means that the driver can listen to the satnav instructions and make phone calls while the other passengers listen to their favourite music, film or audio book without inflicting it on others.

Tips to avoid car journey arguments:

  • Plan ahead: check your quickest route beforehand and look for any major traffic hotspots that could cause delays
  • Pick your break destinations: plan on-route rest and toilet stops in advance so everyone knows when and how many times you’ll be stopping
  • Check traffic alerts: incidents and road closures can cost hours. If your satnav doesn’t have live traffic reports, check the Highways Agency alerts for incidents and road closures before setting off
  • Prepare entertainment: make sure there’s plenty for passengers, particularly children, to do. Make a music playlist beforehand with everyone picking a couple of their favourite songs, download films onto tablets and research some easy to play game ideas, such as ‘I spy’ or ‘Who am I?’
  • Pack snacks: keep the peace with a few savoury and sweet snacks to keep bickering caused by hunger pangs at bay

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