Britain’s love affair with the car

Eighty per cent of drivers really do enjoy driving and at least half of all drivers will drive to their holiday destination this summer.
Eighty per cent of drivers really do enjoy driving and at least half of all drivers will drive to their holiday destination this summer.

Eighty per cent of drivers really do enjoy driving and at least half of all drivers will drive to their holiday destination this summer, according to an AA Populus poll of 21,850 members.

But the renewed love affair with the car is not about what is under the bonnet but more about what goes on inside the car.

The comedy, the singing, the quiet contemplation. The games, the rows, the entertainment, gossip and the quiet confessions in this private space. In a world constantly on display, with every thought and emotion analysed on a smart phone, and social media intruding even into one third of children’s meal times, the car has become the last great social space.

Due to social interactions in the car, almost one half (49 per cent) admit they have a strong emotional attachment to their car. The car is not about mundane journeys as three quarters (76 per cent) like exploring new places by car. It is as much about the journey as the destination.

The AA/Populus research also found: Half (47 per cent) of families taking their car into mainland Europe this summer consider the ferry to be ‘a part of the holiday’ rather than just a means of reaching their destination; 58 per cent drive when on holiday, 50 per cent drive to the holiday and 45 per cent take a holiday in the UK that involves driving there.

Cars are the second biggest purchase most of us make in our life after our homes and for many of us the car becomes an extension of the home.

New research from the AA shows that over a third of us feel being in a car allows for quality bonding time, with nearly 41 per cent saying some of their fondest memories are of family road trips. Important conversations are somehow made easier on car journeys, with more than 1 in 5 admitting to making up after arguments in cars.

Many life changing moments have happened in a car. Indeed, 1 in 20 Brits have proposed or been proposed to in a car, 14 per cent have shared their first kiss in a car, and two per cent of the nation have even given birth.

Cheryl Calverley, head of group marketing at the AA, said: “As drivers enjoy their time in the car we want their journeys to flow smoothly so that they never miss a beat.

“Our job, if we are needed, is to keep our members on the road with first in class repair rates, our breakdown app and even our new Car Genie device that can predict and prevent up to one third of breakdowns.”