Living behind the wheel: Brits spend 2.1 years of their lives in the car

Drivers enjoy ‘me’ time, audio books and singing along to the radio, survey reveals.

Tom Harrison
Content writer
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Posted 03 OCTOBER 2019

A new survey shows Brits spend literally years of their lives in the car – and for the most part, we enjoy it.

According to research by Privilege Car Insurance, we spend 35 hours on the road a year to meet family and friends, 35 hours driving to the supermarket and back, and 32 hours driving for household errands. But top of the driving league is the 63 hours a year we spend just driving to work and back.

Ferrying the kids to social events takes up 13 hours, and going to get some exercise at the gym accounts for 12 hours.

Time out from daily life

Although all this driving has its downsides – we spend three-and-a-half weeks of our lives shouting or swearing at other people on the road, for example – for the most part we rather enjoy it.

59% of respondents agreed that being in the car is a great way of getting some thinking time, while 33% of parents welcomed the opportunity to get time away from the kids. What’s more over half of us – 52% – of us are glad to get a break from our phones when we’re behind the wheel.

Driving favourites

When it comes to who drives the most, top spot is taken by Plymouth, with people spending 416 hours a year in their cars. At the opposite end of the scale, respondents from Brighton spent only 232 hours a year driving.

Although drivers enjoy having their own space, 49% said their partner was their favourite car companion, and people also enjoy driving with children and friends. But only 5% of us want to spend time in the car with our dads!

In-car singalongs

Listening to the radio provides the in-car entertainment for 86% of drivers, with two-thirds admitting to singing along to music – mostly pop hits – at the top of their voices. Some drivers are a little more restrained with 26% listening to podcasts and audio books, and 27% using their driving time for meditating or focusing on their breathing.

Charlotte Fielding, head of Privilege Car Insurance, said: “Whether getting from A to B or enjoying our own space and time, there’s no doubt we spend a considerable amount of time in our cars. It is, therefore, important that we take care of ourselves and other road users by driving safely and remembering to consider everyone else on the roads.”