While mobile phones and fiddling with the stereo might cause drivers to lose concentration it’s actually our nearest and dearest who are the biggest distraction while we’re at the wheel, according to a new survey.
The study for The Car People found that nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of East Midlands parents said that having their children in the car was the biggest distraction while driving.
The age-old cry of “are we there yet?” might be one familiar to anyone who has taken their youngsters on an even slightly long journey - in fact kids ask it up to three times an hour - but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the off-putting antics of our offspring.
Fighting, vomiting, throwing food, undoing their seatbelt and having tantrums are all regular problems facing families on long journeys.
And, according to the research, drivers in the East Midlands say that their child kicking the back of the seat in front is one of the biggest problems. In fact, 61 per cent say that their youngster does it on a regular basis.
Having to break up battles between squabbling siblings is also a major headache for mums and dads. Forty-five per cent of the region’s parents said that it’s a sibling that makes their child misbehave most.
What’s more 42 per cent say they have to pull over at least once every long car journey due to their child playing up.
More than half (55 per cent) of parents put their kids’ naughtiness down to boredom and the study found they had a variety of methods to try to calm grumpy youngsters down, ranging from high-tech gadgets to good old-fashioned bribery.
Tablet computers and DVDs were popular ways to distract back-seat travellers, with 25 per cent of parents saying they put on a film or TV show, while 45 per cent of kids surveyed said they’d been given a tablet computer to keep them occupied. A further 17 per cent of adults said they resorted to food as a peace offering.
It wasn’t just mums and dads who got their say on back-seat behaviour, the study also questions the youngsters themselves.
Rather than boredom, the biggest cause of acting up (36 per cent) was not wanting to be strapped in, according to the children, and 23 per cent said they often felt car sick.
And it’s bad news for mums, with 55 per cent of kids admitting they act up more for mum than dad.
But they also pointed the finger at badly behaved drivers, with 36 per cent saying they’ve seen mum or dad answer the phone while driving and 18 per cent having seen them smoke at the wheel.
As part of the survey, The Car People fitted several cars with cameras to see what youngsters really get up to while on the move and the video shows the results.