Warring at the wheel: are in-car arguments making us a nation of lone drivers?

23 November 2017

  • Only 12% of drivers prefer to take a spin with others in the car
  • 80% of drivers admit to arguing with their partner in the car
  • Almost four times more men than women say they’re better than their partners at parking

Unsociable Brits prefer to drive on their own instead of with others according to new research from car finance specialist Black Horse.

Four in ten drivers would rather take a solo spin than enjoy company in the car and only slightly over one in ten (12%) prefer to drive with others.

Scots are the most unsociable drivers in Britain, where this figure drops to 7%. The Welsh are twice as likely (14%) to enjoy sharing a journey with others, with Londoners far happier to drive with company at 23%.

These preferences may come as a result of disagreements, as 80% of drivers admit to arguing with their partner in the car, with those in the East of England the most argumentative (84%). Drivers in Wales are least likely to war at the wheel, though 71% still admit to bickering on the road.

The research also uncovered differences of opinion amongst drivers who were asked what they thought about their partner’s skills at the wheel. Almost four times as many men (57%) than women (15%) claim to be better at parking a car than their partner. Similarly only one in ten men admit that their partner is better at parking, compared with almost six times as many women (56%).

This pattern is reflected in terms of general driving too, with almost twice as many men (46%) than women (24%) claiming they are better drivers than their partners. Likewise, only 7% of men admit their partner is a better driver compared to over four times as many women (29%).

However, official statistics show these opinions may be off track, with men committing a higher proportion of motoring offences than women. Data from the Ministry of Justice reported three and a half times more male motoring offenders (306,289) than female offenders (86,416) in England and Wales last year (see table 1).

Black Horse Head of Motor Finance Tim Smith said: "We see a significant gender split in opinions of partners’ skills at the wheel, but official statistics could be seen to contradict these views.

"Some people enjoy chatting to friends or family in the car or possibly enjoying a bit of ‘carpool karaoke’. For others, arguing at the wheel means that driving with their partner isn’t always fun and so some see the car as a haven for listening to music, podcasts or generally having some ‘me’ time."