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One in four domestic bust-ups in Liverpool happen in our cars, according to new research.
The stress of being on the road leads to more bickering and bust-ups than anywhere else in our weekly lives.
These ‘carguments’ range from falling out over directions (the most common with 33 per cent admitting to it), your partner’s driving skills (32 per cent), going too fast (17 per cent) and what’s on the radio (eight per cent) to non-motoring related topics that could happen anywhere.
Classic topics include finances (17 per cent), family (16 per cent), children (14 per cent), and chores (11 per cent).
Research conducted by independent car buying site carwow revealed that the fall out from an in-car bust-up can last longer too, with one in eight of those surveyed admitting they can go anything from three hours to more than a day before speaking to their partner again.
Liverpool women admit to starting more in-car arguments than men (45 per cent vs 42 per cent), with those aged under 24 most likely to lose their temper.
One in 20 of those surveyed even say they have stormed out of the car following an argument and walked the rest of the way, rather than stay in the vehicle with their partner.
Arguing in the car was top of the pile for locations of our domestic strife, just above the kitchen , the bedroom and the bathroom.
Asked why they believed things got more heated in the car than anywhere else, 26 per cent of those surveyed reckoned it was down to the added stress of having to cope with traffic at the same time as having the conversation, while 23 per cent believed it was down to the confined space
Arguments are most likely to occur on journeys somewhere new or unfamiliar (25 per cent), long road trips (18 per cent) and short trips, such as the supermarket or a relative’s house (five per cent).
Dr Sandi Mann, from the University of Central Lancashire, says the survey of 2,000 people confirms that the car is a hotspot for domestic disagreements.
She says: “The act of driving brings stress of its own and a driver can already be stressed and frustrated by so many triggers on the road such as traffic, inconsiderate driving, roadworks etc. So throw another person into the mix and it’s always going to have the potential to be explosive.
“The triggers for an argument are far more prevalent in driving situations, too – your partner’s individual habits come to the fore; perhaps in their lack of willingness to ask for directions, their tendency to drive too fast, or aggression towards other drivers. All of these things can wind another person up.
“And once an argument starts, neither of you can go anywhere until the journey is over, so it’s only going to go one of two ways – a dramatic silence or, far more likely, a spin-off into other topics where one or both of you are harbouring a grudge.
“The ways to avoid arguing in a car are the same as anywhere else – one side can just stop talking as it’s impossible to argue with yourself. Or once you realise a row is brewing, you can take deep breaths and count to 10 before speaking again in an attempt to calm your thoughts.
“Car specific steps that couples can take are to listen to soothing music only while on trips and to keep the car clean – create an environment that isn’t conducive to squabbling in the first place.”
Mat Watson, resident motoring expert at carwow, comments: “Drivers face so many distractions on the road today – but our research shows that distractions can be just as dangerous inside the car as outside.
“Passengers should try to put themselves in the driving gloves of the person behind the wheel before kicking off an argument. It’s hard enough to drive on our roads in 2018 without added stress.”
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