If you're one of nearly 35 million Americans hitting the road this weekend, remember to plan ahead. Keeping all of your passengers entertained is the surest way to maintain civility in the family sedan and avoid accidents.
That groundbreaking piece of news comes from CarInsurance.com, which recently polled 1,561 drivers with children age 18 or younger. Specifically, the website asked parents about the various causes of road trip meltdowns. Here are the top ten responses:
- Boredom: 32%
- Someone pestering someone else: 19%
- Someone won't stop talking: 7%
- Someone touches someone else: 6%
- Disagreement over radio stations: 5%
- Hunger: 4%
- Disagreement over stops: 4%
- Disagreement over where to eat: 4%
- Someone is looking at someone else: 4%
- Conflicting directions: 4%
As you can guess from looking at that list, kids are usually the first to reach the breaking point. In fact, 53 percent of respondents said that children 13 and under were the primary cause of meltdowns, while older teens sparked 23 percent of in-car outbursts. Parents were much better composed, with only 13 percent of women and 11 percent of men reportedly freaking out.
Unfortunately, these blow-ups don't just cause stress for families; they can have a real impact on auto safety, too. More than one in five respondents -- 21 percent -- said that arguments had led to a near-miss, with the driver coming uncomfortably close to hitting another vehicle or other obstruction. Eight percent reported having accidents, and 14 percent said that they'd received a traffic ticket.
Another 19 percent of those surveyed said that they'd turned around and gone home after a family argument, and 31 confided that they'd canceled a trip because they feared a repeat of a pas blowup.
As horrible as that sounds, though, the website's managing editor, Michelle Megna, insist that families are in it for the long haul: "Despite these findings, an overwhelming majority, eighty-six percent, say they look forward to family road trips, and nearly half go for multiple days, which shows that no one's putting the brakes on this American tradition anytime soon."
Just to keep things sailing along, though, you might want to invest in an extra iPad this summer. Or leave Dick and Jane with the grandparents.