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Clocking up Christmas miles

Clocking up Christmas miles

Families will travel an estimated 302 miles during the Christmas period, a new study has revealed.

The research of 2,000 adults also discovered 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 is tallied up making trips to and from various shops to buy 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.

“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,” said David Carter from Accident Advice Helpline, which commissioned the research.

“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.”

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

Total = 302 miles

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 of folk, a breakdown was their most unwanted present, while 13 per cent witnessed an accident.

“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,” added David Carter of Accident Advice Helpline.

“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.”

If you want to clock up some of your own driving adventure miles without even grabbing your car keys, then check out the driving games available at Smart Driving Games.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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