Millions of drivers miss out on road trip memories – as they focus on SatNavs and traffic
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Other common distractions include worrying about how much fuel is left, engine noise, and talking to passengers.
It also emerged a quarter of motorists (26 percent) don’t pay as much attention to their surroundings when driving as they should, and often miss the scenery they’re driving past.
For 44 percent, taking breaks is a sure-fire way to help them focus on driving and the journey more – while others rely on planning or being familiar with the route, and even making sure they’re well rested and fed beforehand.
Cognitive scientist, Dr Martha Newson, who has partnered with Hyundai, which commissioned the research, said: “Part of what holds us together as families, communities or society are the memories that shape us, and being able to reflect on our most defining experiences together.
“After years of lockdowns, the UK is making up for what feels like lost time.
“We have a deep need for memory making – reflected in the fact that 22 percent of respondents shared that they want to be more present in the moment, and make more lasting memories during their journeys.
“It’s not about getting from A to B, but really experiencing what the journey has to offer in all its glory.
“These journeys across the UK are part of what is bringing us back together, both physically and psychologically.”
It’s not about getting from A to B, but really experiencing what the journey has to offer in all its glory
Dr Martha Newson, cognitive scientist
The study found 34 percent of those polled are more likely to remember a car journey when travelling with others, as opposed to being alone.
A third said the most prominent memory from previous driving trips in the past is who they travelled with, while the same number said the amazing views (33 percent).
These came ahead of passing famous landmarks (30 percent) and the destination itself (29 percent).
However, when asked about what sounds are most associated with a road trip, the sound of the engine (38 percent) surprisingly beat the radio or podcasts (36 percent) and the sound of the sea (16 percent).
It also emerged more than one in five (21 percent) feel driving an electric car would make a road trip more memorable, as planning the route enables drivers to take a break and not only charge the car, but to refresh ahead of the next leg of the journey.
Others think electric vehicles add to memory making with no changing gear and a nicer driving experience.
Motorists are happy to sail along for just shy of two hours and 40 minutes before taking a break, with 69 percent either planning or making impromptu stops in a bid to make their journey more memorable.
Toilet breaks are a frequent stopping point for 51 percent, with 37 percent allowing for a breather to stretch their legs.
Just 28 percent will pull in for a rest at scenic viewpoints, and 26 percent will stop off at a nice café.
The research, conducted via OnePoll, also revealed coastal roads, mountain views and good weather are among the things motorists believe make a memorable car journey.
And driving near lakes and rivers, passing through quaint villages, and cruising through national parks also featured.
Using the top 20 things that make a car journey memorable, according to motorists, Hyundai has curated the top 10 most memorable drives in the UK for the nation to enjoy this summer.
A spokesman for Hyundai Motor UK, which commissioned the research to encourage drivers to consider switching to an electric vehicle to help aid making memories on the road, said: “Driving can either be truly enjoyable, or truly forgettable – it all depends on how you approach it.
“If you’re driving somewhere new this summer, treat it like an adventure and opportunity to see new things, try local restaurants and make new memories, and be more present with the people you’re travelling with.
“A significant fifth say they miss out on making memories on drives due to engine fumes and noise – easily solved by switching to electric.
“Electric vehicles enable fast charging, maximum driving range, and lots of interior space, to make the everyday journey as enjoyable as possible.”
DR MARTHA NEWSON’S TIPS FOR A MEMORABLE JOURNEY:
- Choose your car snacks wisely. Opt for higher protein treats, like nuts or cheese, over sugary snacks or refined carbs – as regular sugar consumption is associated with poorer memory. Dark chocolate, at least 70 percent in cocoa, is the exception to this rule because it is rich in flavonoids, which are linked to increased blood supply to parts of the brain associated with memory. Anti-inflammatory foods including fruit, veg sticks, and certain teas are also ideal for optimum cognition, positively influencing neuronal signalling.
- Minimise distractions. While the playlist might be important, other noises could distract you from remembering the journey itself. Distracting information, such as engine noise or a cluttered car environment, places a burden on our working memory. As the brain is busy processing the distracting information, our performance in other areas must decrease. So, if we want to support our visual memory to process beautiful scenery, it helps to have an uninterrupted journey with distractions minimised.
- Really stretch your legs when you have a rest break. A brief bout of exercise, whether it’s some deep lunges, running on the spot, or a brief jog along the beach, can help improve circulation and the secretion of neuroprotective proteins, associated with the growth and development of neurons. This acute form of exercise primes the molecular processes to encode and consolidate new memories. If you’ve got an electric vehicle that needs its battery recharging, then take this time to recharge your batteries too.
TOP 20 THINGS THAT MAKE A CAR JOURNEY MEMORABLE:
- Driving along the coast
- Mountain views
- Good weather
- Driving near lakes and rivers
- Quaint villages
- Who you travel with
- Seeing a significant landmark i.e. Angel of the North
- Stopping at viewpoints
- Driving through a National Park
- Passing colourful fields
- Driving through forests
- Stopping at a beach
- Seeing animals in fields by the road
- Finding a country pub for lunch
- Driving through hilly areas
- Crossing a border i.e. England into Scotland
- Going over bridges
- Taking A/B roads over the motorway
- Hilly roads
- The amount of traffic
TOP 10 THINGS THAT DISTRACT MOTORISTS FROM HAVING A MORE MEMORABLE JOURNEY:
- Lots of traffic
- Driving a route I’ve driven before/I’m familiar with
- Bad road conditions
- Talking to passengers
- Following a SatNav/GPS
- Listening to the radio/podcasts
- Trying to avoid roadworks
- Sing along to music
- Worrying how much fuel is left
- Checking how economically I’m driving on the dashboard
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