Men prefer to do the driving with 89% saying they planned to be at the wheel during day trips, but only 32% of women are content to let them do so. A startling 41% are not and say they plan to do the driving themselves – which is very likely to lead to a falling out before the car key is in the door.

Highlighting how the first wrong turn can easily result in blame and spark an in-car row, the study found the situation is no better when it comes to route planning – with 88 % of men intending to assume responsibility but only 48% of women being willing to entrust this to their male companions.

One thing that both sexes do broadly agree on is who should be responsible for ensuring essential day trip items are on board before departure. More than 8 out of 10 (84%) women said that they would be taking the lead when packing bags and more than half of men (54%) are willing to let them – just as well since only 11% of women are willing to entrust the task to a male companion.

Leading psychologist Dr Geoff Rolls helped interpret the study’s findings and supported men’s route planning skills saying: “In general men have better visual spatial skills, which may explain these results; however few men are willing to put these skills to good use by helping with the packing.

“Men also clearly prefer to do the majority of the driving, despite the fact that women are safer drivers according to accident statistics. Those women that allow men to drive appear to do so because they feel men are not good passengers and are likely to criticise their driving.

“To avoid a day trip disaster everyone going needs to have an agreed role and be happy with their allocated duties, so discuss who is doing what beforehand and share tasks – particularly driving – which can be stressful and tiring.”

A similar proportion of men and women (16% and 18% respectively) admitted they would not conduct a mechanical check on their cars before a day trip – despite the fact that breaking down was a key concern to more than a third of them (33% and 35%).

Rory Carlin from Halfords Autocentres said: “Nothing is more likely to see a day trip end in disaster than breaking down, yet it is surprising how little importance men and women attach to basic maintenance.

“Motorists can instantly take some straightforward steps to reduce their day trip expenditure, the likelihood of an argument and their chances of being stranded at the roadside awaiting recovery.”

Disaster avoidance measures

  • Agree everyone’s role. Discuss who is doing what beforehand and share tasks – particularly driving – which can be tiring.
  • Consider travel times. Travel when there is less congestion – sitting in traffic is stressful and uses more fuel.
  • Adopt a light-footed driving approach. Hard acceleration and sudden braking can use up to 40 per cent more fuel.
  • Breakdown cover. Make sure your policy is up to date and take any necessary documentation with you -emergency roadside rescue can be costly if you are not covered
  • Review what you’re taking. Remove unnecessary items which all add to your vehicle’s weight and harm fuel economy.
  • Carry basic safety equipment. A warning triangle, jump leads, foot pump, tow rope, torch, high visibility vest, first aid kit can all be invaluable.
  • Ensure that engines are serviced. Proper servicing at least once a year enhances fuel consumption by making sure they are operating efficiently and drastically reduces the chances of breakdown due to an undiagnosed fault.
  • Check tyre pressures (including the spare). This increases their life span and lowers fuel consumption by reducing rolling resistance.
  • Check tyre treads. Tyre should have at least 1.6mm depth across ¾ of the tyre and be free from bulges, lumps or cuts in order to reduce the chances of a puncture.
  • Check oil and water levels. These should be in line with manufacturer standards, so top them up as necessary – 60% of engine failures are due to cooling system problems.


To download a copy of the full Summer Daytripper Study visit the Halfords Autocentres advice centre at: