Driving – the actual stats

August 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Car commercials will have you believe that your vehicle is a cocoon of peace and harmony. The bare facts say different, however. Over a lifetime behind the wheel, drivers will clock up an argument for every 80 miles they drive and exchange a kiss just once every 242 miles. A new survey reveals that life really is all about the journey, not the destination. It provides an account of what an average motorist can expect to experience during their years on the road. Be it driving someone on a date (15 times), eating a meal on the move (1,093 times), crying (82 times), or taking a nap (39 times), the car is at the centre of millions of lives.

The findings were generated from a survey of 2,000 motorists who described their driving habits. It estimates that people’s driving experience will cover an average of 61½ years, from the age of 17 until they are driven to their final destination.

Over that time, the average motorist can expect to cover 292,986 miles in the 26 different cars that they buy, figures that perhaps explain why more than a quarter of motorists find enough of a bond with their car to give it a name.

“These statistics really highlight just how much of our lives we spend in the car,” said Lee Griffin of Gocompare.com, the comparison service, which commissioned the survey. “So perhaps it’s not surprising that many of us have such a fond relationship with our motors; spending a lot of time in the car means we will inevitably encounter both good and bad memories on the road.

“These average-motorist statistics suggest that sometimes the journey can be more exciting than the destination.”

Britain’s love affair with — if not in — the car is faithfully chronicled by the Department for Transport. Its figures for the annual total of miles racked up by cars and taxis shows that the number has surged since 1949 when records began and 12.6 billion miles were recorded. By 1970 that had risen to 96.3 billion and in 1990 the figure had reached 208.7 billion.

The figures peaked at just over 251 billion in 2007, but as congestion, high fuel prices and the financial downturn reduced the appeal of the open road, that slipped to about 244 billion last year.

It’s a trend that emerges in the Gocompare.com survey as well. Motorists can expect to spend 100 days, 21 hours and 7 minutes in 9,348 traffic jams, stop off to buy fuel 2,645 times, and get lost on 336 occasions. And while cars might be getting safer, each motorist can expect to be involved in 35 minor accidents and 81 near misses.

There’s also a clue as to why car pooling has not taken off in Britain: the average motorist will listen to more than 376 days’ worth of radio and sing along 4,879 times — the most frequent in-car activity. Not something that’s so easy to do when sharing a ride.

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