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How to avoid ‘carguments’ and be a better passenger

There’s no escape when you’re in a car with someone, which is why irritating habits and bad passenger etiquette can often lead to ‘carguments’. In fact, almost a quarter (24%) of drivers say they’re likely to argue while driving, and three in ten (30%) admit that they themselves are annoying passengers while someone else is behind the wheel.  

Our research unveils who the most annoying car passengers are, as well as the most common causes of arguments, and tips on how to be the perfect passenger. 

Nearest and dearest are the most annoying passengers

Husbands, wives, daughters, boyfriends, and mothers are revealed as the top five most annoying passengers by British drivers.

  1. Wives – 12.8% of drivers agree
  2. Husbands – 11.4% of drivers agree
  3. Daughters – 7.3% of drivers agree
  4. Mothers - 6.7% of drivers agree
  5. Boyfriends – 6.4% of drivers agree 

And couples aren’t always in harmony in the car: our survey shows spouses and partners are some of the most annoying passengers – more than twice as annoying as children. Just over one third of men say their wives and girlfriends are the most annoying passengers, and one third of women say their husbands and boyfriends are the most annoying passengers.

The places where the most/least annoying passengers live

Liverpool is named the place with the most annoying passengers (81.7%), followed by Belfast and Leeds. Plymouth has the least annoying passengers.

Home of the most annoying passengers

Home of the least annoying passengers





















Backseat driving is the leading cause of ‘carguments’

Backseat driving is the biggest cause of 'carguments', followed by giving the wrong directions and getting lost.

Most common reasons for argument
Backseat driving
Wrong directions
Getting lost
Passengers distracting the driver
Forgetting something and turning back

In-car arguments are more likely to happen in some cities than others. Cardiff is the city with the most car arguments, followed by London and Birmingham.

And the type of car you drive impacts how much you argue while driving, with manual car drivers almost twice as likely to argue than those who drive automatic cars.

Husbands voted the best at giving directions

According to drivers, male passengers are typically better at giving directions than women, with 40% agreeing that husbands, fathers, boyfriends and sons are the best navigators, compared to only 25% agreeing the same for wives, mothers, girlfriends and daughters.

Who’s really in control in the car?

When it comes to setting the temperature inside the car, women are the ones in control. But men, specifically husbands, most often play DJ by choosing the playlist.

Five tips to becoming the perfect car passenger

Everyone talks about the importance of being a good driver, but it’s easy to forget that passengers also have an impact on the driver's ability to drive safely. So, what does it take to be a good passenger? 

  1. Stay alert - Even as a passenger, it’s important to stay focused and alert as an extra pair of eyes for the driver.  
  2. Help with directions - Giving clear, concise directions will help the driver stay focused on the road, instead of getting distracted by a sat nav or maps.
  3. Be tolerant - Try to be relaxed about one another’s foibles while you’re on the road. 
  4. Stay out of the way - Do your best to avoid getting in the way of the driver's controls or blocking their windows or mirrors. 
  5. Don’t distract the driver - Avoid making too much noise so the driver can concentrate on the road.

Drivers can also need help to behave better on the road – see our tips on how to avoid road rage.

Brought to you by the car insurance experts at

The survey data collected in this study was based on a survey of 2066 UK drivers, which took place in January 2022.