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Drive and suffer: Boredom, pestering and blabbing are top road-trip meltdown causes

June 23, 2014 (Foster City, CA) – Boredom, bothering others and blabbing are the most common causes of road-trip meltdowns, with kids being the first to lose their cool on long car trips, followed by wives and husbands.

CarInsurance.com recently surveyed 1,561 drivers with children under age 18 and asked them to pinpoint the main cause of meltdowns on family car trips, who is most prone to a meltdown and when, and what happens as a result.

Drivers who have experienced a passenger meltdown point to the following as main causes:

  • Boredom: 32%
  • Someone pestering someone else: 19%
  • Someone won't stop talking: 7%
  • Someone touches someone else: 6%
  • Disagreement over radio stations: 5%
  • Hunger: 4%
  • Disagreement over stops: 4%
  • Disagreement over where to eat: 4%
  • Someone is looking at someone else: 4%
  • Conflicting directions: 4%
  • Disagreement over a car game: 3%
  • Other: 3%
  • Disagreement over what to watch: 2%
  • Car sickness: 2%
  • Something lost in car: 1%

Children under age 13 (53%) are most likely to lose their composure first, followed by teens (23%), wives (13%) and husbands (11%).

Survey participants could also write in other meltdown triggers they’ve experienced. Chief among them were traffic, other drivers, construction and fatigue, but some others were notable for their ability to inspire universal empathy beyond the typical travel woes.

"One woman said her husband melts down 'because he doesn't like to go places or do anything fun,'” said CarInsurance.com Managing Editor Michelle Megna. "A parent said her young child 'always wants to get there in less time than it actually takes' and more than a few spouses groused about the other's driving skills causing outbursts."

Don't make me pull over! OK, I'm pulling over!

For some families, road trip drama begins not long after pulling out of the driveway. Seven percent experience the first meltdown before leaving the neighborhood; 15 percent within an hour of being on the road. Thirty-three percent endure a meltdown within one to two hours and forty-five percent are lucky enough to travel for more than two hours before someone reaches the boiling point.

For many drivers, a meltdown is the end of the road. Seventy-one percent have pulled over the car due to an episode. Others have nixed the idea of a family adventure on the road entirely – 31 percent have decided not to go on a road trip due to past meltdowns.

Road-trip meltdowns can have lasting consequences. Here are some cited by drivers who say a meltdown has led to other problems:

  • A near-miss: 21%
  • Long-term family argument: 19%
  • Turning around to go home: 19%
  • Traffic ticket: 14%
  • Accident: 8%

"Despite these findings, an overwhelming majority, eighty-six percent, say they look forward to family road trips, and nearly half go for multiple days," said Megna, "which shows that no one's putting the brakes on this American tradition anytime soon."

For more survey results, see http://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/family-road-trips.aspx


CarInsurance.com commissioned a survey of 1,561 licensed drivers with children under age 18. All respondents had experienced road-trip meltdowns. The survey was fielded in April 2014.

About CarInsurance.com

 CarInsurance.com has been offering drivers expert advice about the different types of car insurance and how to shop for them since 2003. Using a combination of industry expertise and information drawn from thousands of online quotes delivered without obligation each month, CarInsurance.com is a source for unbiased answers and data about what consumers should expect from an insurance policy. The site lets consumers compare multiple car insurance quotes online and purchase a policy online in minutes. CarInsurance.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs.

Twitter: @carinsurance

Press contact:

Michelle Megna
mmegna (at) carinsurance.com