Brits plan 236-mile staycations this year

Over half of Brits (29 million) are planning a staycation this year, with the average journey predicted to be a whopping 236-mile round trip, but how can families avoid enduring an all-too-familiar stressful car journey? New research from Churchill Motor Insurance reveals the factors which contribute to the most stress-free driving experience to help staycationers keep their cool this year.

One of the top factors contributing to a stress-free journey is traffic, with 62 per cent or motorists saying that no traffic was a factor that made their journey less stressful. Additionally, a scenic view (47 per cent) is another stress-busting feature of a journey. Perhaps this is why drivers find themselves most chilled out on forest roads (32 per cent), coastal roads (31 per cent) and country roads (27 per cent), in stark comparison to city roads and town high streets, which only four per cent of drivers find peaceful.

Not only are these rural roads less stressful to drive on but they also offer a lower risk of accidents. More than two thirds (67 per cent) of accidents occur on urban roads, which can be seen by the fact that London, where 96 per cent of roads are urban, has the highest volume of road traffic accidents (25,300), while Wales, with just 22 per cent urban roads, has among the lowest (4,300).

In terms of destination the South West is the most popular, with one in seven drivers (15 per cent) planning to visit the area this year. Completing the top five UK holiday destinations are Scotland (10 per cent), South East England (nine per cent), the North West and Wales (both eight per cent).

However, based on Churchill’s research, drivers hoping for a relaxing journey should consider heading to Wales this year, which has the highest proportion of rural roads in the UK. There are 23,000 rural miles in Wales, accounting for 78 per cent of all roads in the principality. Wales is followed by the South West (76 per cent), Scotland (70 per cent) and the East of England (69 per cent) as the regions with the most picturesque roads.

The top external factors which make driving less stressful for motorists are good weather and driving conditions (65 per cent). Yet, while they may not find the conditions as stressful, drivers need to be on their guard in all conditions, as the vast majority of road traffic collisions occur in daylight (71 per cent), with no adverse weather conditions (79 per cent) and on dry roads (70 per cent). Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of accidents involve more than one vehicle.

Completing the top factors for a stress-free driving experience are knowing the car is fully prepared for the drive (42 per cent) and the right music (40 per cent). Just one in eight motorists would say driving with family (13 per cent) or friends (12 per cent) makes for a relaxing trip.

Nicholas Mantel, Head of Motor Insurance for Churchill, said: “Going on holiday is supposed to be relaxing but often the driving can be stressful, especially when travelling a long distance with a full car. If families are yet to book a UK holiday, our research shows certain areas of the country may be preferable for those who enjoy a scenic road trip as part of their staycation.

“If the thought of heading to the road fills you with dread, take simple steps like making sure the car is in good order, the route is planned and you’re prepared for any unwelcome surprises like traffic jams. Also make sure to keep children entertained with fun games and car activities, to help make the journey feel more like part of the holiday and keep you and your family calm.”