Motorists in the UK will spend 58 working weeks, or more than a year, of their lives not moving in traffic on their daily commute, according to a new study by Continental Tyres.
This adds up to over 100 million lost working days every year for the more than 18 million workers who commute by car.
Covering an average round trip of 28 miles the typical journey to work and home again takes 41 minutes, with 12 minutes lost every day in jams and delays. Even with annual leave, bank holidays and sick days this means 5½ working days lost every year or 58 working weeks during a lifetime.
The study of 2,000 motorists for Continental Tyres established the routine and habits of commuters as well as their preferences.
Tim Bailey, head of safety at Continental Tyres, said: “People are clearly concerned about congestion and rising fuel costs, but using the car remains the preferred option for most.
“With 63% of workers using their car on at least four of five days in the working week, planners and government need to recognise that the morning and evening rush-hour is going to be a feature of life in Britain for some time to come.
“For individuals it means frustration but for the economy as a whole it means lost productivity and increased emissions, so it remains a key issue to tackle.”
The research also reveals that 14% of commuters car-share.
The environmental impact of motoring is a factor when workers decide how they commute however it only ranked as the fourth most important consideration. The biggest concern that prompted people to find an alternative was the volume of traffic and the lack of available parking.
Half of all Brits say they will leave their car at home if fuel costs rise further, however 45% of those using public transport now would switch to their car if petrol prices drop.
Bailey added: “What is clear is that people still appreciate the freedom and flexibility of driving and that sets a challenge and an opportunity for manufacturers.
“Three-quarters of us want more fuel efficient cars and nearly half would consider buying a hybrid motor.
“Car makers have invested considerable time and effort into technologies for bio-diesel engines and electric powered vehicles and as a result these are becoming a more popular consideration. Continental is also making significant investment in fuel efficient tyres for cars and is now developing new designs specifically for electric vehicles.”
Just over half (51%) of the respondents identified negative ways in which their commute affected their performance at work citing issues like feeling stressed and lacking energy due to delays.