Research has found that a fifth of drivers spend more time in the company of the car stereo than with family or friends. Seven million motorists spend almost a month of every year in their cars.
A quarter of motorists spend more time in the car than they do in ‘free time’ such as watching TV or doing hobbies and one in 20 even spends more time in the car than they spend at home or sleeping.
According to the research, undertaken by Churchill Insurance, company car drivers not only use their vehicles as a means of getting around, but also as a wardrobe or make-up room, because they do not have the time to get ready at home.
Frances Browning, of Churchill Insurance, said: ‘With people spending around 15 hours a week in their cars it has become a necessity to extend their use beyond motoring.
‘One driver told us that he eats in his car so often that he keeps salt and pepper on hand in case fish and chips is on the menu.’
Psychotherapist Christine Webber added: ‘There is no doubt that as a nation we are spending increasing amounts of time in our cars and therefore we are left with less and less quality time for other areas of our lives such as family or social life.
‘Indeed many drivers have come to regard their car as a kind of second home, while others try to make their hectic lives more palatable by viewing their car as their oasis and very special, personal space.’
The research suggests drivers are increasingly dependent on their cars. But experts have also warned that drivers spending such long hours on the road should plan journeys and work commitments to limit the amount of time they spend in the car, and take frequent rest stops to avoid fatigue.
Top 10 items people keep in their cars
1. Food (tea, coffee)
4. CDs/Mini disks
5. Sporting equipment
6. First aid kit
8. Mobile phone equipment
10. Work files