This results in a further 14 million drivers preferring to travel alone most of the time. As we get older we get less tolerant of others, with people in their fifties a third more likely to want to drive solo than those in their twenties. Researchers found the average car-owner gets annoyed at least three times by their passengers’ behaviour during the typical car journey – taking just six minutes for their blood to boil. Tempers have flared so much for one in five behind the wheel that they have asked a passenger to get out of the car.
Unable to keep their hands, feet and thoughts to themselves, the Backseat Driver was named the most annoying passenger to have in the car. They brake hard before every junction, slam the dashboard with their hands in panic, comment on every turn, and account for more than four in ten irritating passengers.
Researchers studied the opinions of 4,000 drivers and it emerged a further one in ten fall under the ‘Fiddler’ category – those bored individuals that twiddle with buttons, air con and switch between radio stations. Other types of passengers include the ‘Sleeper’ – those who nod off within minutes of setting off, snore, and only wake up when they arrive at their destination. And the ‘Road Rage’ – someone who embarrasses the driver with their fiery temper, instantly getting riled by other motorists on the road, uttering expletives, and at times waving rude hand gestures.
Tim Bailey, safety expert for Continental Tyres which carried out the study, said: “It is worrying that so many motorists are irritated to such extremes by their passengers. Driving is the time we need to be most alert, so a distraction such as an annoying passenger is likely to mean a driver losing concentration. We would suggest calmly letting the passenger know that what they are doing is distracting you, trying to calm down and most importantly, focusing on the road ahead.”
The survey of drivers aged between 17 and 65 were quizzed on what types of passengers they find most irritable on a car journey. And millions of Brits said those who push their feet down into the foot-well on the ‘invisible brake’ were the most annoying to have on board. Other types included the ‘Know it all’ – those who correct grammatical errors you make, the radio and sat nav.
A third of respondents admitted they avoid getting in a car with a particular person. Drunken mates, partners and mums were named the worst to share a journey with. One in three have been embarrassed by a passenger, but half admit they are also capable of being an annoying passenger as well, and are guilty of talking too much or suffering from road rage.
Top ten most annoying types of passengers
- Backseat driver – unable to keep their hands, feet and thoughts to themselves, this sort of passenger can’t help but brake hard before every junction, slam the dashboard with their hands in panic, and comment on every turn.
- The Fiddler – bored to tears by long journeys, this passenger spends hours twiddling knobs, changing stations, and playing with all available buttons on the car dashboard.
- The Know It All – keeps correcting the radio/sat nav/you – they know better than anyone about any subject.
- Sleeper – this type of passenger is bad company because they fall asleep within minutes of setting off, snore through the whole journey and only wake upon reaching the final destination.
- The Drone – unable to keep quiet, this passenger incessantly chats away – normally first thing in the morning, when all you want is peace and quiet. Talking about their kids, stresses and other uninteresting daily musings top the agenda.
- Road Rage – instantly gets riled by other motorists on the road, sometimes utters expletives, wave rude hand gestures.
- Airhead – feeling ‘boxed’ in by the car, this passenger insists on spending the majority of the car journey with the windows down, the air conditioning on, and their head stuck out of the window to ‘get a bit of fresh air’.
- The SatNag – their focus is on making sure you’re heading in the right direction, offers short-cuts and barks directions at you.
- The Leaker – needs the toilet every 20 minutes and requires a service station break.
- The Crooner – belts out every ballad they recognise on the radio with complete disregard to other passengers and their inability to sing in tune.