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UK Commuters Suffering from Chronic Stress for Up to 15 Days a Year

27 November 2018 No Comment

A lengthy commute is something that most workers have to do, but what effect could it be having on our health? A new field study by Swinton and Mindlab has revealed that we are a nation of chronically stressed drivers, with commuters experiencing 15 days of stress each year from driving on UK roads.

A field study was conducted to explore what factors are affecting our stress levels. 60 controlled test drivers were completed by three drivers in major cities in the UK such as Birmingham, Cardiff, London, and Manchester. Drivers were attached to heart rate and electrodermal activity monitors, and they were filmed in the vehicle to allow the research team to compare physical and emotional responses to events. The journeys were made at both peak and off-peak times. What we found was shocking and a concern to anyone who regularly drives as part of their commute.

  • Drivers were stressed for at least 40% of every journey, and for as much as 85% during one 20 minute drive.
  • On average, drivers were stressed for 55% of each journey they took.
  • Drivers were found to undergo 6 stress-inducing events per minute. 

UK workers currently spend 58 minutes per day, and 27 days a year commuting. So as a nation, we could be stressed for as much as 15 days a year thanks to navigating UK roads.

To support the research, YouGov surveyed 2,000 British adults. The findings were that:

  • Almost one-third of drivers regularly feel stressed behind the wheel.
  • 52% of respondents said that poor decisions by fellow road users such as speeding and tailgating contributed to their stress levels.
  • 47% said that bad road surfaces have a negative effect on their journey.
  • 33% said that passing cyclists make them feel stressed.

To further clarify the effects of chronic stress on our health, Dr Prudence Knight from Push Doctor comments, “Too much stress too often can promote the overproduction of hormones like cortisol which can contribute to the development of a range of physical and mental health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. In particular chronic stress, can also impair our judgment by making us anxious and irritable and so contribute to poor decision making whilst driving”.

To keep drivers safe on the roads and reduce driving induced stress, Swinton Insurance has partnered with the UK’s leading road safety charity IAM Roadsmart to offer advice on how to combat the stressful situations we are most likely to encounter – https://www.swinton.co.uk/car-insurance/stressed-drivers/good-annoying-driving-habits/

The events which riled drivers the most overal:


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