Christmas: British families will travel an average of 302 miles over festive period, study finds

Research finds over half of Britons find driving especially stressful over holiday period

Friday 08 December 2017 15:00 GMT

Families will travel a mammoth 302 miles during the Christmas period, a study found.

The research of 2,000 adults revealed the festive mileage is made up of trips to the shops for presents, supermarket for Christmas dinner and going to events such as the pantomime.

In addition, 116 miles will be travelled to see friends, close and extended family.

While 45 miles are tallied up making trips to and from various shops to buys presents for everyone.

During Christmas week, Brits estimate they’ll spend almost nine hours in the car travelling to see loved ones.

Understandably, 54 per cent of adults find driving over Christmas stressful, with a fifth worrying about the family’s safety and 26 per cent claiming this is due to the added responsibility.

David Carter from Accident Advice Helpline, which commissioned the research, said: “It's not a surprise how many miles families travel over the festive period but it's important to be prepared for the journey ahead. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination as roads can be very busy, and know the route you're going to take“

“At this time of year adverse weather isn’t uncommon, so make sure your car and you are prepared for the journey and drive with caution. Leave extra space between you and the car in front if weather conditions are poor or visibility is bad.”

The study found the weather conditions make a Christmas journey stressful for 47 per cent of motorists, while 43 per cent get anxious when stuck in holiday traffic.

Keeping the children entertained is a worry for 29 per cent of families, while the need to constantly pack and unpack the car is a chore for 23 per cent.

Frequent toilet stops, remembering to pack and take everything, and the fear of breaking down also make people nervous about driving in Christmas week.

But many families go prepared for every eventuality when in the car with the kids - half of those polled pass the time by singing to Christmas music and 23 per cent allow every member of the family to have a turn on the playlist.

Four in 10 parents go armed with plenty of snacks for the children, and 14 per cent simply ply them with sweets for the entirety of the journey.

Films for the children, in-car games and activity books are other ways prepared parents keep the children entertained on a long car journey.

But things don’t always go to plan - as the survey shows, a fifth of parents have fallen into an argument with the children on a Christmas drive, while 13 per cent left presents and home and 26 per cent got trapped in a holiday traffic jam.

Sadly for eight per cent, a breakdown was their most unwanted present, while 13 per cent witnessed an accident.

David Carter of Accident Advice Helpline added: “Distractions and temptations are very common when you are driving the family around over the festive period. It’s important to ensure that both you and your vehicle are fit to drive.”

“We deal with the human consequences of road accidents and know how heart breaking that can be. Have a healthy and Happy Christmas time and drive safely.”

Christmas miles breakdown

  • Present shopping – 45
  • Visiting close relatives – 51
  • Going to panto – 19
  • Food shopping – 33
  • Visiting friends – 32
  • Visiting extended family – 33
  • Christmas week – 89


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