We’ve been hearing a lot of hubbub about the dangers of texting while driving, and our nation’s politicians, automakers and the general public have made efforts to combat the practice. Even without the crackberry, many drivers are afflicted by another distraction: squabbling spouses.
According to a recent survey conducted by British accessory retailer Halfords, more than 70% of drivers admit to being involved in some sort of in-car argument in the last month. If you don’t trust British civility, a smaller U.S. based study conducted by navigation software producer TeleNav found that 55% of respondents reported being involved in arguments while driving.
Almost two-thirds of respondents in the Halfords study say the dispute involved how to get to a destination. According to the survey, 80% of women complained that their partners never looked at the directions before heading off, while 85% said they argued over a driver’s refusal to ask for directions after they’re lost.
In the TeleNav survey, the biggest reasons for a dispute was opposing views on how to get to a location and refusing to ask for directions. Also, 17% of respondents accused the other of being a bad driver.
Nearly 25% of the respondents in the Halfords survey recognized that heated arguments could threaten their safety, and the U.S. government has data to back that belief.
In-car conversations are a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s list of leading driver distractions. Squabbling can both cognitively and visually impair a driver, increasing response times and potentially causing vehicular accidents. According to DOT, 5,870 died and another 515,000 were injured by distracted drivers in 2008.
Most Arguments in the Car Are Over Directions, Says Survey (New York Times)