Drive your way to health and happiness

More than 60 per cent of British motorists claim to be happier driving alone, a survey commissioned by Skoda UK has revealed.

That percentage should not be significantly different for Ireland. And, according to a leading psychologist, driving alone could be the answer to a healthier life.

The national study found that respondents shun friends, family, and even celebrities in search of valuable ‘me time'.

When alone, respondents listed listening to music and the radio as their top source of happiness in the car (40 per cent ).

Viewing beautiful scenery also uplifted their journey (12 per cent ) and nearly 10 per cent of interviewees said it gave them time to think.

Gladeana McMahon, one of Britain’s leading psychologists, commented: "The findings from Skoda's survey illustrate how important alone time is. Driving on your own gives you time to think, whether mulling over issues or remembering good times. Given the hectic 24/7 lifestyles we all now seem to lead, the car has become a sanctuary for us to escape to, away from the stresses and strains of everyday life.

"Current research into the area of positive psychology also shows that people who spend time reflecting on what they are thankful for become more psychologically resilient. So if used positively, your daily car journey can be channeled to make you healthier and happier."

The survey also revealed that if we did have to share a car, TV favourite Cheryl Cole and comedian Stephen Fry would be our top choice of famous faces, closely followed by George Clooney and Kylie Minogue.

When it comes to travelling with colleagues, half of those surveyed felt that it was time well spent in getting to know their fellow workers, although 20 per cent prefer to use the time to indulge in gossip about their colleagues.

Unsurprisingly, only one per cent of Brits consider their boss to be a favourite passenger, while eight per cent believe that isolated time with their manager in the car could help to improve their careers or promotion chances.

When it comes to car sharing annoyances, driving styles (32 per cent ), smelly or untidy interiors (29per cent ) and backseat drivers (28 per cent ) were listed as the top complaints by British workers.

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