Survey: Cars Are The 'Third Wheel' In Relationships

September 4, 2012

So, you've recently begun dating someone, and things are going well. You like the same movies, the same books, the same music, and, most importantly, you make each other laugh. You think to yourself, "This could be the one."

Then something terrible happens: your new love asks to drive your car. No matter how you feel about the car -- maybe it's a clunker, maybe it's your dream ride -- the situation is uncomfortable and awkward.

If there's an upside to that, it's that you're not alone. In fact, according to a new study by (a sort of financial clearinghouse based in Wales), cars are often the third wheel in relationships.

In July of this year, the company conducted an online survey of 2,012 U.K. drivers, asking them about the role cars play in their lives. The study found that folks lavish a lot of attention on their rides -- often to the detriment of their partners.

Here are the study's major takeaways:

  • One in five drivers made their partners wait at least three months before allowing them behind the wheel of their car. One in twenty drivers were so cautious that they made their significant others wait a full year.
  • One in 25 admitted that they have either damaged the vehicle of an ex, or they've seriously thought about it.
  • Of those who've vandalized a vehicle, most (41%) said that scratching the paint was the best revenge. Less popular were letting the air out of tires (29%), smashing windows (26%), and scrawling messages in the dirt on the car windows (20%).
  • A significant number said that they'd rather spend their free time with their vehicles. One in eight prefer washing their cars and taking them for spins over passing the hours with family and friends. 

Off the top of our heads, we don't know of any studies that have asked similar questions of U.S. drivers, but we expect they'd turn up similar results. In fact, people might even be more car-crazy on this side of the pond.

Until some company gets its act together and launches such a survey, we'll have to rely on you. Do these results match your own feelings and experiences with cars? Let us know in the comments below.

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